Each month we ask a young farmer for their views on farming and rural youth. This month we caught up with Steven Eddie from Vale of Alford JAC
Name: Steven Eddie
Club: Vale of Alford JAC.
Where do you stay?
Do you hold or have you held any office-bearer roles at Young Farmers?
I was chairman of Vale of Alford JAC between 2015 and 2018 and I am currently chairman of West Aberdeenshire District.
Tell us about your background in agriculture.
On leaving school, I attended SRUC Craibstone for four years, graduating in 2015 with an honours degree in Agriculture. From the age of 16, during weekends and holidays I worked with the Gordon family of Lost Farm, Strathdon as a general farm worker.
What do you do for an occupation?
In September 2015, I started working at East Coast Viners Animal Nutrition in Drumlithie. I am employed as a rumnant sales specialist. My job mainly consists of visiting farms in the north-east and advising farmers on animal nutrition and how to get the most from their stock.
What sparked your interest in agriculture?
From a very early age, I remember my school holidays were spent on my grandparents’ farm at Easttown, Glenbervie. I’d say farming is something I have always been interested in.
What is the most rewarding thing about working in the farming industry?
In my job, I meet a wide variety of people in the farming community.
I enjoy talking to them and taking an interest in what their farming system is and what their needs are. I get great satisfaction from advising customers and seeing favourable results when they have used products I have recommended.
Do you think there is something we should be doing additionally or different within the sector?
I am of the opinion that it is very difficult and more or less impossible for young people who are not going to inherit a family farm to start up in agriculture.
I feel that more could be done to assist new starters and although there are schemes in place at the moment, more could be done to help the right young people enter the sector and be successful.
Where do you see the farming sector in 10 years’ time?
Considering the present political and economic uncertainties, I don’t think any industry really knows where they are going to be in 10 years’ time. I would like to think that the industry continues to experience the good trade for stock and grain seen in the last year.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to someone looking to get into the sector what would it be?
Always be prepared to work hard and constantly improve your knowledge and skills.
We can’t end the interview without talking about Young Farmers so tell us about your experience – why did you join?
I joined Young Farmers to spend time with like-minded people who shared the same interests as me.
What do you most enjoy about Young Farmers?
I enjoy the competition that exists between fellow members and also with other clubs.
Whether it is competing to see who has the best neeps or taking part in the Northern Spotlights there is just something for everyone.
How do you feel Young Farmers has impacted your life?
Young Farmers has improved my organisational, communication and public speaking skills. I have met a lot of great folk the length and breadth of Scotland. I have also visited a lot of places.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to join?
The more you put into Young Farmers the more you will achieve. The opportunities are there for you.