Eighteen-year-old David Robson is just one of the young farmers who are preparing for their future in farming, and navigating the industry through this changing time.

On his 1,000-acre family farm Townshields, near Haydon Bridge, David helps tend to more than 500 Blackface ‘yows’ and 30 Luing cows, and until recently he split his time between working on the farm and completing his college course in agriculture at Newton Rig College, Cumbria.

Although his goal is to follow in the footsteps of his parents – successful Blackface sheep breeders, Neil and Sarah Robson David – he is also keen to expand his agricultural skills, and often volunteers on neighbouring farms, where he can practise new skills.

“I think it’s important for young farmers to be versatile in this industry,” he said. “Especially in the current climate, where you often do need to specialise in multiple areas of farming.”

David is also no stranger to the mart ring, and regularly attends shows and sales across the county.

Although he may still be learning the agricultural ropes, David is also helping to lead the next generation of farmers, through his role as chairman at the Bellingham Young Farmers’ Club, which he volunteers to do for free.

“All of the office office bearers are young people, and sometimes it can be quite challenging to take on a leadership role, and juggle studies and work alongside,” said David. “I’m only 18, and our secretary Harriet Robinson is 17, so it’s been a learning experience for the both of us, but I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”

In recent events, the club has raised more than £600 for charity, attended speaking and sports competitions across the country, hosted stock judging events and set up educational days out, where young farmers can gain practical experience and tips from all areas of the industry.

With the ever-growing uncertainty of farming’s future post-Brexit, it would be understandable that young farmers felt concerned, but David said he still remains positive,

“I don’t think Brexit is anything to worry about.” he said, “Farmers are pretty resilient, and we’ve always just cracked on with things, and worked on moving forwards.

“I’m optimistic about the future for young farmers.”