Poll reveals the challenge facing farming
Eight out of ten young people think of a blackberry as a mobile phone rather than a fruit, according to a poll.
When asked what a "blackberry" was, 82% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would be most likely to think instantly of a smartphone, the survey for the Environment Department suggested.
Farming Minister David Heath said there was a "huge level of disengagement from the countryside" as the survey also revealed that more than half of adults (55%) have not been to a farm in the past ten years.
And just one in ten (11%) of the 2,114 adults polled saw farming as the career they would most like to work in, compared with 51% who favoured being a doctor, lawyer or teacher.
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The poll was conducted as Mr Heath, MP for Somerton and Frome, meets young people to talk about the barriers to their future in agriculture, as part of the Future of Farming Group which is examining issues affecting new entrants into the farming industry.
He said: "There's a huge level of disengagement from the countryside, which prevents gifted young people from grasping the opportunities it offers.
"I want more young people to think about farming as a thriving, cutting-edge industry that values the bright ideas talented young people can bring."
The Future for Farming Group is set to report in the summer on issues such as the different entry routes into farming and the challenges facing new entrants including lack of training and access to capital.
The group launched a call for evidence asking people for their views on how to get graduates into the industry, which will be used to make recommendations on how to make the sector more accessible to young people.