By Anna Sloan,

Bankfoot Young Farmers Club

Every year we start at ‘Go’ and are unsure what will lie ahead for us as we set off round the Monopoly board and venture through the coming year.

Rain, sun, rising or falling market prices, disease, higher costs of production, natural disasters – who knows? Each time we make it round, we hope that we have done enough to pass 'Go' again and collect £200. Then off we go again.

However, someone new often joins the game or the rules get changed and we have to re-adjust our strategy to move with the times and avoid landing in trouble without a 'get out of jail free' card. But one thing that rarely changes, is the owner of the houses, or in the case of farming, the land.

Mr Dyson is up there with his farming equivalent of Mayfair and Park Lane, meanwhile smallholders seem to remain in Old Kent Road.

Joking aside, I think Monopoly helps to highlight a few aspects of the farming world. In farming, various business decisions we make come with an element of risk and it is critical to measure the effects this could have on the overall business strategy. Many rules apply and it is not easy keeping track of them all.

Farming involves a large amount of uncertainty and requires logical, strategic thinking, together with analysis of the probability of future events. We try to hedge our risk and equip ourselves for all eventual possibilities and moves by other players in the market.

When I was asked to write this article, I thought I would Google the definition of a farmer: '1. a person who farms; a person who operates a farm and cultivates land. 2. an unsophisticated person from a rural area; yokel.'. I think not!

How about being a problem solver, studying best practices, the law, keeping up with technology and hedging risks by considering probability of future market prices, events and when to sell?

The dictionary definition versus reality highlights how much is expected of farmers in the modern world. No longer do we just have to farm the land, we are also expected to be the legal team, the health and safety officer, the HR department, the IT department, office services and the finance team. In many other industries these would be considered as completely separate and specialist roles.

We are, however, fortunate as an industry that there are many supportive, collaborative groups out there to help us share ideas and further develop our skills. SAYFC is one such group, which provides countless opportunities to meet with like-minded people, travel the world, try new activities and explore and discuss the latest developments in the agricultural industry.

So how do we win? The overall aim of Monopoly is to drive your opponents to bankruptcy. This is where the similarities between farming and Monopoly end.

Whilst we are all seeking to find our place in the market, we remain an industry of team players who require to work together in order to ensure that UK agriculture strives and succeeds for generations to come – and then we are all winners.