Former JLS band member-turned-farmer JB Gill is backing a campaign to inspire a younger generation to consider a career in agriculture.
The nationwide #FarmtheFuture campaign encourages young farmers to plan for their future and inspire under-30s to consider a career in the industry in the UK.
The number of farmers over the age of 65 has increased by 70% over the last ten years, while the number of under-25s has dropped by almost two-thirds over the same period.
Research by Barclays Bank, who launched the #FarmtheFuture campaign, reveals that only 3% of 18-30 year olds would view farming and agriculture as a desirable career. Over half (59%) believe they wouldn’t be able to afford to become a farmer and four in ten (44%) think they can only break in if they inherit land.
JB Gill, now 32, bought his 10-acre farm in Kent while still in the boyband JLS. Once the band split in 2013, he ploughed his energies into the land and now runs a successful turkey and pig farm.
The former JLS boyband member, who is a father to two young children, says his farm is “an excellent resource for his family”.
Using his position wisely to serve a greater good, JB Gill has also been involved in teaching young children the importance of farming. In recent years, he has been a co-presenter on CBeebies series Down on the Farm.
When it comes to encouraging young people to explore farming, he notes that stereotypes must be challenged. JB Gill said: “There’s a lot of misconceptions among young people about what a career in agriculture really means. It is hard, physical work so it keeps you fit, you get to work with animals, you’re your own boss and you can keep up with the trends by posting everything on Instagram for everyone else to see.
“The farming community is really welcoming, providing newcomers with knowledge on everything from tending to animals to financial advice. You don’t need to have your own land to work in agriculture, there are many options from farm management through to the service industries and I would encourage anyone interested to give it some serious consideration – it’s a life like no other.”
Every industry, especially farming and agriculture, needs new talent to innovate and look to new markets, and the next generation will be vital as the sector strives to boost productivity and drive growth.
#FarmtheFuture aims to encourage Britain’s farmers to kick-start their succession plans by starting conversations.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea