How Old Is Too Old To Farm? Oxford Farming Conference 5th January 2010

The Farmer’s Weekly has brought to my attention the debate about how old is too old to farm? A sensitive and controversial issue that will be at the centre of the Oxford Farming Conference on the 5th January 2010.

I live on a farm with my husband who is the third generation of farmer to farm here. He farms along with his brother and father who is now 66. I noticed in the Farmer’s Weekly article was asking if farmers should stop farming at 60?

I know what my father-in-law would say. It would definately be a resounding no. Although the farm work that my father-in-law does now is more limited and I have noticed that he does get tired alot more these days, he loves working with the cattle and he feeds cattle at both farms (where he lives and on our farm) twice a day which is still quite physical and some younger people would struggle to do.

I believe that the farm work my father-in-law does helps to keep him fit and healthy and as long as it is contributing to his good health and he is enjoying the work and doing a good job I personally don’t see why there has to be an age limit on how old a farmer can keep farming. I do think that if more than one generation are working together then the older generation do need to consider the long term needs of the younger members as the long term view of an older farmer may not be the same as a younger farmer.  In our case my father-in-law works well with his sons and all parties seem to be pursuing farming roles that suit them personally as well as the farm as a whole.

Let me know what you views about how old is too old to farm.