Beef farmers ‘positive about off-farm opportunities’ – FRS survey

A recent survey of beef farmers shows that many are “considering earning additional income by working off-farm in 2020 – ideally on other farms where they can use their existing skill set”.

The survey, which was conducted by FRS and Herdwatch among some of its farmer customers, confirms the level of interest among beef farmers in working locally in the sector they know best.

80% of farmers surveyed already work off-farm, with 22% working off-farm on another farm and 63% saying they would prefer their off-farm work to be farming-related, the study found.

When asked about the prospects for their own farm business, 52% felt less positive for 2020 compared to 2019 and 58% said they would look at increasing their off-farm income in 2020 – with 41% saying they would increase income by working off-farm and 36% saying they would consider working on a dairy farm as a means of doing this.

Those interested in or already partaking in off-farm work want local and flexible work which utilises their existing skills, according to FRS.

72% have a preference for part-time work and almost 80% are looking to travel less than 30km to work.

Over half of the respondents value flexible work and want outdoor work, compared to just 12% who would prefer an indoor job.

The top three job aspects which would encourage farmers to work more off farm, in order of preference, are: ‘flexible hours’; ‘local work’; and ‘using the skills I already have’.

According to Peter Byrne, CEO of FRS Network, there are “significant opportunities for beef farmers to use their existing skills to boost income” without needing to resort to additional investment or travelling long distances to work long and often restrictive hours.

Peter expanded, adding: “FRS has an ongoing availability of full-time, part-time and flexible roles on farms where many beef farmers would be ideally positioned to work on locally.

“We would invite people to talk through the options available with their local FRS offices and register their interest on our careers page,“ the CEO concluded.

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