March 6, 2023

U.K. dairy giant Arla is calling on more young Brits to enter farming in the next decade to help the industry meet its carbon targets.

New research commissioned by Arla into the career aspirations of Gen Z has unveiled nearly 40% want a job that’s analytical, but 33% don’t know much about the job of a farmer. In fact, 25% are looking for something that includes scientific testing, the research found, and 32% want a job that plays a part in tackling climate change.

When asked about the role dairy farmers play in tackling the climate crisis, nearly half (45%) of 18 – 24-year-olds weren’t aware that today’s dairy farmers are working towards lowering climate emissions.

The research found that 67% of young people didn’t know that farmers spend most of their time using technology to gather and analyse data, working to improve the sustainability of their farms, and taking a data-led approach to the work they do.

As a major employer and a vital business helping to feed the nation, Arla says that it understands that it needs to attract the next generation of farmers to help deliver future changes. The business plans to engage the Government in this mission, and aims to raise awareness with new initiatives, such as its Climate Check programme.

Speaking about the action needed, Paul Savage, director of UK agriculture at Arla, said: “Today, our farmer owners are dedicated to continuing their progress to meet the cooperative’s climate targets of reducing emissions on farms by 30% by 2030. However, sustainability is also about ensuring a sustainable workforce for the future and that is why we need our younger generation to step-up and consider a future in dairy to help drive the changes we’ve already identified.

“Our research shows that over two thirds of 18–24-year-olds think it’s important that farmers use renewable energy technologies, but nearly half of those surveyed were unaware that solar panels and wind turbines can already be found on many farms and often have the capacity to generate enough energy to export to power homes in the local area. There is clearly a knowledge gap within Gen Z Brits, and it’s our job at Arla, alongside the Government, to ensure there are enough future farmers in place to help drive the changes that will help the industry meet its climate commitments.”

Every Arla farmer is invited to complete a Climate Check that sees them meet with an independent advisor who identifies the best areas to focus on to reduce their carbon footprint. In October last year, Arla also launched its Sustainability Incentive Model, a new way of rewarding farmers for their actions to reduce emissions through the milk price. These developments have put Arla at the forefront of sustainable dairy.

Arla farmers are already collecting data for the 2023 Climate Checks report – with the results to be published in Autumn 2023. Read the full 2022 climate check report here.

Arla will be calling on the Government to join with the industry in encouraging more young Brits to consider a role in agriculture, and to help them gain the skills they need.

For more dairy news, click here.

Top photo: Jorien Loman Unsplash

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