FARMING needs to make itself sexy and exciting, TV presenter Adam Henson claimed as he opened Ribble Valley animal feed company Dugdale Nutrition’s new £1 million plant.
He said the industry must shout about successes, like the investment at the 164-year-old Clitheroe family firm’s Salthill headquarters, creating up to a dozen jobs.
Gloucestershire farmer and BBC One Countryfile presenter Mr Henson officially launched the purpose-built feed blending unit, which provides tailor-made animal feed for local sheep and cattle farmers.
He said: “Farmers are terrible about shouting about success. Around the country there are farming and agricultural supply chain businesses that are very successful but we are terrible about telling our success story.
“If we are to get young people interested in agriculture and excited about what we are doing then agriculture has got to be sexy, exciting and profitable, and we need to shout about it.
“I know there have been some tough times, but agriculture is about selling our story well in everything we do.
“To get young people to join us, we really need to shout about our successes.
“These young people need to be innovative, they need to entrepreneurial, and they need to be technological. It is a really exciting business to be in and I think we are on the crest of a wave.”
Mr Henson said farmers and their suppliers needed to invest in young people and good staff, train them and retain them. He added that following the recession, farming had gone back to the basics of sustainability, good working relationships and the value of food.
The company, which now employs 63 workers having taken on eight staff in recent months, hopes the new plant will produce 50,000 tonnes of blended food a year, including ‘bespoke’ recipes tailored to the individual needs.
Managing director Matthew Dugdale, the sixth member of his family to lead the company, said: “We remain passionate about farming and are committed to its future. We are confident in the future of milk, lamb and beef production in the UK.”