LEADING livestock auctioneers Harrison & Hetherington has led an innovative research initiative which has seen the next generation have a voice on the future of farming.

The Farmstock Futures Project was launched before lockdown, but was moved online due to the Covid-19 panedmic.

H&H Group CEO, Richard Rankin said: “The future will always bring change and evolution, the rural sector is no different and in fact could be argued is long overdue such a change. However, COVID-19 has accelerated or even forced this change and created the chance for us to take stock and think about what is to come. We all know that the main attendees of our marts tend to be of a more experienced and mature age, and they have been the ones to mould the current way things are done. But, the young generation embrace change more readily, are tech savvy and are coming up with a desire to be part of the future, they are going to be the ones that will be interacting with the marts.”

Mr Rankin partnered with the Family Business Network to recruit individuals from across the UK and Ireland, as well as those from the agricultural supply chain, including supermarket buyers and food processors.

Farming alongside her father and uncle, Stephanie Dick of Throsk Farm, Stirling, is responsible primarily for the cattle side of their family enterprise. Alongside her father’s pedigree herd of over 800 Limousin and Aberdeen Angus cattle, the 26-year-old now has her own herd, and is very actively involved in preparing their bulls for market. She said: “I have loved being part of a group where we can all interact and learn from one another, from both a mental perspective and a technical one, in terms of new practices within the industry.”

H&H will focus on mentoring the existing and any future groups.