He has lived life in the fast lane as a racing car driver - but Jon Watt is now very much more grounded.

He joined the family farm at Laxfield, near Eye, in 2018 - and says he prefers his new job to his old one.

The Suffolk farmer - now aged 27 - is part of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Student and Young Farmer Ambassador Programme and is inspired by all the industry has to offer.

Jon Watt with a tractor (Image: Toby Lea/NFU)

He attended Framingham College before winning a place at Exeter University where he studied mechanical engineering.

Then his racing career took off and he travelled the country competing - which wasn't quite as glamorous as it sounds.

"It was a brilliant thing to have done. In 2018 I won the Britcar championship. It was an amazing thing to have done but as you step up to racing internationally, the budget gets absurd.

"I did 50,000 miles a year between different race tracks and you lived in a Premier Inn."

So he came back and got more "stuck in" on the farm. "I actually enjoy that more," he admitted.

Jon feeding his cattle (Image: Toby Lea/NFU)

He works with dad, David, 67, and they farm about 180ha including tenant and contract farming. They are mainly arable but keep a small hard of Hereford and Red Poll beef cattle.

"We run it very jointly. He's very good in that he lets me do things the way I like to do them - which is a problem with a lot of farmers - they can't do things the way they want to."

His dad had got out of livestock but Jon wanted back in, so they now keep cattle. "I think he's quite happy with it. I'm very fortunate in that way but it gives you a very steep learning curve."

He spent a very happy childhood growing up on the farm, and learnt skills like driving tractors and trailers. He would love any children he has in the future to benefit from such an idyllic start, he said.

(Image: Toby Lea/NFU)

But he admitted that forging a career in farming isn't easy. "The access to the tenanted and contracted land is hard and I think that's only got more difficult," he said.

Becoming a young ambassador with the NFU was "one of the best things I have done", he said.

"I don't think there's a shortage of young people who love agriculture because it's the most amazing industry," he said. "There's literally something for everybody."

But the volatility of the sector was an obstacle, he admitted.

"It's not a stable or a profitable industry. Without that stability and profitability that's the challenge," he said.

"If you are not making any money on each cow it's going to be very difficult to expand and buy more."

But it was important to stay positive, he said. "There are these amazing jobs," he pointed out.

Although he didn't go to agricultural college he did attend a short course there and that has shown him the many possibilities. 

His own goal now is to build his own family's farm business. 

"I think my ambition would be to grow the business, to grow the suckler herd. We sell our own beef in beef boxes and I want to grow that side of things and ultimately ensure a profitable and enjoyable future."