An initiative aimed at giving new entrants a foot on the dairy farming ladder is being driven forward by Guild member Jessica Buss.
The former director of the British Grassland Society and livestock editor at Farmers Weeklybefore that is now chief executive of Dairy Futures.
The charity aims to combat the barriers faced by new or recent entrants to dairy farming and, in particular, the issue of securing finance in order to get a business enterprise up and running.
Jessica says Dairy Futures is aimed at people in their first 10 years of business to access an unsecured loan of between £25,000 and £100,000 over a five to 10 year period.
Applicants can be tenants, share or contract farmers with a solid business plan and must prove they have the skills and determination to succeed. There is no age restriction, she points out, but they must have been in business less than 10 years and not own more than 20ha of land.
She adds: “The loan company has an initial £500,000 fund and with money coming back in monthly from loans, that’s enough to make about 18 loans of £50,000 over the next five years.
“We are also hoping the industry will support this initiative with donations and sponsorship, so that both the charity and loan company can help as many people as possible.
“We hope that support will grow, as we prove what we and the people we help can deliver to the industry, which is short of skilled new entrants and yet so difficult to start a business in.
“This initiative should help young people, particularly college leavers, see greater potential for a career in dairy farming. This was the time when our benefactor saw no future for himself in dairy farming and was when he chose a different career path.
“Now, as he looks back on his successful career, he still wishes he could have farmed himself, sees the problems within dairy farming today and wants others to have that chance to farm.”