Young Farmers profile: James Hammond, 25, looks ahead to farming's changing future
PUBLISHED: 16:52 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:52 21 March 2019
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club members, 25-year-old JAMES HAMMOND looks ahead to the political changes that will shape his chosen industry in the coming years.
I took a slightly unusual route into farming – although from a young age I had always done the odd job here and there on the farm.
Upon leaving school, farming wasn’t where I saw myself heading. After A-Levels I went to university in Durham and spent four years completing a degree in a chemistry, but through this period I would still work on the farm during university holidays.
However, after a year out in New Zealand I made the decision to come back and work on the farm full-time.
I work on the family farm in Knapton, near the North Norfolk coast. The farm is all arable with a mixed rotation of wheat, barley, sugar beet, peas and potatoes spread over 800 acres.
Having no formal training in agriculture, I have very much learned on the job, picking up knowledge from those I work with, and I have completed essential qualifications such as sprayer operator and telehandler certificates. Further to this I make an effort to attend local talks and shows to gain insights into other methods and techniques being implemented in the industry.
Looking to the future, I would like to take on more responsibility on the managerial side of farm. This year I helped with the grain marketing which broadened my views of how much of an impact global events can have on our markets.
I think plans for the future could very much be influenced by what decisions are made by politicians in the coming months. There are many uncertainties at the moment all of which could have a significant impact on agriculture. Potential changes to subsidies and trade tariffs in particular could lead to changes having to occur.
As well as this, continuing research into the impact of some well-used chemicals could see reductions in their use and a need to implement other methods.
I think some of these decisions could lead to forced changes to current methods and farms may need to adapt to these to continue to be successful.
Throughout the last two years I have been a member of North Walsham Young Farmers’ Club. YFC provides a great opportunity to meet new faces, whether it’s at one of the weekly meetings, a social or one of the inter county competitions.
The programme of meetings is varied – over the last year we have listened to some interesting speakers and visited local venues such as tours of Carrow Road and Woodforde’s brewery. In the summer months farm visits are popular, though a particular favourite of mine was a trip further afield to the New Holland factory in Basildon.
Socials and each club’s annual dinner dances are always good fun, with the Norfolk 75th ball later this year something to look forward to.
Name: James Hammond
Occupation: Farm worker
YFC Club: North Walsham
How long have you been a YFC member: Two years
• North Walsham YFC meets at Rossi’s on Tungate Road on Tuesday evenings. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.