Devon Young Farmers discuss the challenges of farm succession

The webinar takes place on Monday, January 25, and is supported by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual 

The webinar takes place on Monday, January 25, and is supported by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual - Credit: Alan Reid

The emotional and practical challenges of handing a family farm down to the younger generation will be discussed by leading national experts in an online event hosted by the Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC). 

The webinar on Monday, January 25, is supported by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual and will focus on the need for effective succession planning within family farming businesses. 

Professor of Rural Resource Management, Matt Lobley of the University of Exeter, will be drawing upon his findings of 30 years of research with farming families across the UK. “Retirement and farm succession is often more complex than it sounds and, for most, it’s a very emotional process,” said professor Lobley. 

Professor Matt Lobley’s recent research, commissioned by NFU Mutual to investigate the unique approach farmers take to retirement, showed that just 19% of farmers plan on fully retiring and those that do, retire at a later age than the wider population. 

Professor Lobley said: “There is much greater awareness of succession as an issue facing UK agriculture than there was 10 to 15 years ago, but there is still a very pronounced need to move beyond the awareness stage to actually encourage planning.” 

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Matt Darke, Devon YFC County Chairman, will be sharing his own personal experiences: “As a fourth-generation farmer, I know too well the importance of talking about succession and the future of the farm business and I’ll admit this is something we have struggled with in the past. 

“As families get bigger, succession becomes more of a difficult discussion. Since having children of my own, it has opened my eyes to making sure that the farm business is structured in a way that provides equal opportunity for my children, whilst making sure the business remains in a strong position for years to come.” 

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The online seminar is part of Devon YFC and NFU Mutual’s commitment to provide an online programme for Devon Young Farmer’s during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

To register to attend the free online webinar and send in your questions for the panel, visit

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