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Avoiding misunderstandings

George Henderson on Internships

In 1944 George Henderson wrote a book called ‘The Farming Ladder’ in which he described just why the internship system is such an important part of farming.

“While I was learning farming I made up my mind that when I became a farmer I would take pupils, not with the object of obtaining big premiums or cheap labour, but really to teach them their trade as I would like to have been taught; I also intended to remunerate them at the real value of their labour, so they could get a better start in farming than I had had. I believed then, as I do now, that the only thing wrong with British agriculture was the lack of really capable and progressive farmers, and well-trained workers. I believed too that the solution of nearly all the farmers’ difficulties lay in their own brains and within the boundaries of the farms; and that far more could be achieved at home than in passing resolutions at the local meeting of the National Farmers’ Union, designed to bamboozle the Government into bolstering up inefficient methods at the expense of the taxpayer. At the same time I felt that no one is qualified to teach until he has proved his own theories. So we did not take a pupil until we had established ourselves as tenant farmers and then bought the farm freehold by our own efforts.”

He goes on to say:

“I have described our system in detail simply in the hopes that other capable and successful farmers will do their share in teaching the rising generation to carry on their good work. We have found it well worthwhile. While the farmer’s first duty is to the land, his second is to share his knowledge freely, so that other land may be better farmed.”

Click here to read Henderson’s chapter on labour much of his wisdom is as true today as it was in 1944 . . .