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PEOPLE IN AG UK JANUARY 2018 | ISSUE 1

FOCUS ON YOUNG FARMERS THEIR LIVES, THEIR AMBITIONS AND THEIR STORIES

part of lifeandthecows


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In this issue... 04

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12

16

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Welcome

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David Madeley - dairy

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Sammy Allen - pigs

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Column - urban farms

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Rebecca Kelsall - Semex UK

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Matthew Ranson - dairy

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William Awan - beef

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Recent Success

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Closing Remarks

Get in touch... @lifeandthecows And join the conversation using

#PeopleInAgUK

@agri_em 20

lifeandthecows@outlook.com


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WELCOME

I really hope you genuinely enjoy the content of this first issue. It has been an exciting and exhausting journey for me, and I am sure that it will continue to be both exciting and exhausting as this journey progresses.

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Welcome to the first issue of People in Ag UK. Putting this issue together has been a labour of love, and I am very pleased with the finished result.   People in Ag UK is all about finding and commending the people in UK agriculture and the agri-food supply chain that are leading the way for the future of UK agriculture. This may be people that are changing agriculture on a relatively small and local scale, or it could be people that are challenging themselves to better their understanding and practices in agriculture at national and international level. I am hoping that People in Ag UK will be successful, and it really is the people that I feature that make all of the difference. Without the people there would be no magazine, and this   

is what makes People in Ag UK different to other farming publications; my focus is the people that give up their time to talk to me about the things that matter to them. It is a platform for people to express their views, and an opportunity for ordinary people to be recognised for the extraordinary things that they do.

This first issue focuses solely on young farmers. The five young farmers featured in this magazine are from a variety of backgrounds. Dairy is the main theme for the issue, but there are also interviews from people in the pig industry and the beef industry as well. I am hoping that this magazine becomes a real success, and I cannot thank the first five features enough for their time, effort and energy whilst putting this together. 

Please get in touch with me via Twitter or email if you would like to be involved in the next issue of People in Ag UK. Additionally, in future issues I am hoping to include a letters section, so if you would like to write in response to any of the features or columns in this issue, please, please do! As I said earlier, this magazine would be nothing without the people that I speak to. Enjoy, and best wishes for 2018.

Emily Hickman Editor


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DAVE MADELEY: my dairy story, home and away.

Having grown up on a dairy farm in Shropshire, Dave Madeley, 21, has always been interested in farming. This was apparent when Dave, at the age of about two or three, watched his older brother take a calf out of the shed ready to take to a show, pointed at the remaining calf and shouted “Me, me, me”. You could say he had an eye for good stock from a young age, as that particular calf turned out to be the best cow his dad ever bred. The herd was sold about three years ago, and although it was a hard time for the family, they decided it would be better to jump while they could rather than be pushed later on. Every cloud has its silver lining though, and the family were pleased with how the cattle sold, with a top price of 5000gns, and a high average. Dave believes that contract providers could be doing more to help struggling dairy farmers. “Buyers need to cut out the rubbish. When the tell producers that they are short of milk, we produce more, and the milk price drops. One month they will be chasing litres, and the next month they stop chasing litres, and it’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. Contract providers, and milk producers, need to be more sensible – in an ideal world farms would operate on a mix of spring calving, autumn calving, and year round calving systems to balance the milk supply, and therefore the milk price, year round.” Dave studied a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Walford and North Shropshire College, following in his older brother’s footsteps. “If you haven’t got a piece of paper by your name, it makes it very difficult for you to do anything these days, and gaining my diploma definitely helped me to find jobs”. Dave was working whilst studying his diploma, and this was something that he found challenging. “Finding the right balance was hard, especially when you start the diploma at 16 and work for it until you’re 18. At that age you don’t really want to be studying”.   Studying the diploma gave Dave a number of opportunities, including a three week trip to New Zealand as part of his studies. Alongside gaining his diploma, Dave also completed his spraying certificates, telehandler ticket and his tractor driving licence, giving him a number of extras to add to his CV.  When he finished his diploma, Dave went to work for Grasslands UK, which are a contract farming operation running a block calving system throughout Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. Being part of a large company with a number of farms allowed Dave a number of new opportunities and challenges. 

Dave with the 2016 National Dairy Shorthorn calf champion


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Seeing how the different farms overcame different challenges meant he was able to learn a lot in the 14 months he was there, and working within a larger company also helped him to develop professionally. “Before working for Grasslands UK, I had only really worked with my dad and my brother, and learning to interact and work with so many other characters was challenging, but rewarding”.

“There was definitely one lesson that was drilled into me by my manager in New Zealand, production is vanity, profit is sanity. It doesn’t matter how many litres you put in the tank if you’re not being paid for them. At the end of the day, farming is a business, not a hobby and you need to make the cow suit the system, rather than making the system suit the cow.”

Shropshire, obviously it wasn’t the other side of the world, but it was far enough from home”.

Dave is currently working on a dairy farm closer to home in Shropshire, and runs a small herd of 4 showing cattle himself. With cattle dotted all around the county, he is lucky to have a good support network to help him out with the cows, who are all in milk. Keeping one at work, one at home with his dad and two with a friend in Whitchurch sounds a logistical nightmare, but he sees them all regularly. His hard work is paying off, as his homebred dairy shorthorn Daimat Safie won a number of awards On his return to the UK, Dave moved to on the showing circuit this year, including 2nd place at the Royal Working for Grasslands UK enabled Mid Wales to help on a farm that were Welsh, Cheshire Country Show and Newport Show in the heifer in Dave to gain a thorough understanding farming almost 1000ft above sea milk class. Dave is keen to be back out showing next year. "It’s of a spring block calving system, level. This presented Dave with a number my hobby, an expensive one, but it gets me off the farm and it’s making his transition to one of New of new challenges. “The main challenge a good social”. Zealand’s top dairy farms easier.  was the weather. Spring calvers want to be out at grass as soon as possible, but Looking to the future, Dave hopes that Brexit will bring more Moving to more of grass based system calving in February at 1000ft in wet opportunity for young people in farming, but before then he in New Zealand was an eye opener for conditions makes it difficult to get the believes that the industry needs to have a look at itself and work Dave, as he was used to a higher cows out to grass. We managed this by out why they are chasing litres, to iron out the volatility in the concentrate input in the UK. The letting them out to grass for a few hours milk price. business that he worked for had a each day, and then bringing them back in. specific blueprint that they stuck to, It was hard work, but we managed it. His personal aim is to get his own farm, whether this be rented, which focussed on utilizing their own New Zealand helped me prepare for the share farmed or owned. “My advice for new entrants? Get stuck resources.  move away from  in, work hard and the opportunities will come to you if you surround yourself with the right people. Anything can be done with hard work and determination”.  

"Production is vanity, profit is sanity"

Follow Dave on twitter: @Dave_Madeley


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SAMMY ALLEN: a placement full of pigs Growing up on a mixed pig, sheep and arable farm in Nottinghamshire, has always allowed Samantha Allen, 20, to nurture her natural curiosity for all aspects of agriculture. Spending most of her school holidays working mostly with the sheep and helping during the busy lambing periods, it was only recently that Sammy developed a keen interest in pigs. Knowing from a young age that she wanted to gain a degree rather than staying at home to work, Sammy settled on Harper to broaden her knowledge. Sammy chose to study agriculture “because of its complexity, and because of the sheer number of doors it can open into different, varied and interesting areas of the industry. The biggest challenge of studying a degree in agriculture is definitely keeping up with the changes and advances within the industry. Agriculture is very fast paced and improvements are always being made”.  Sammy spoke maturely of the problems facing women in the industry, telling me that “being a young female in agriculture is challenging in itself. We are trying to deal with adversity and diversity within an ageing industry. Encouraging more young females into the industry is something that must be done to keep moving the industry forwards”. Sammy is currently undertaking her 12-month industrial based placement with Dalehead Foods, as their Agricultural Scholar. Having the opportunity to see the effects of the farming side of an integrated supply chain interested Sammy in the placement position, and her current role as part of the technical team involves large amounts of trial work. “I knew the opportunity at Dalehead Foods would allow me to gain more knowledge of the pig industry, and the chance to work within the trials team was, for me, a once in a lifetime opportunity”. 


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Above: Sammy with a trial pig

“My role includes writing protocols before a trial, weighing pigs, looking at the behaviour of the pigs and gathering data during the trial. Once the trials are completed, I analyse the data and produce a report. Trial work is definitely challenging; it is precise work and it moves forward quickly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it leads on to further opportunities and trial work. The main challenge in the pig industry is antibiotic usage; this needs to be reduced considerably in the coming years and overcoming this will be challenging, but looking at pig health and behaviour in detail could allow the industry to make some significant changes”.

All students studying at Harper are required to take on the placement period, and Sammy believes that the placement year is an incredibly valuable experience. “The placement year allows you to not only learn about the area of agriculture you are interested in, but it also teaches you a lot about the world of work, which is something that I feel students benefit greatly from”. Sammy plans to find a graduate job within the livestock sector. “I am open to working with other animals, however my main interest would lie in the pig industry. I intend to make the most of every

opportunity that is presented to me, because you never know where it could lead”.

"Agriculture is a very fast paced industry, and improvements are always being made..."


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Column - Growing Cities & Urban Farms, the answer to feeding a booming population? By Emily Hickman @lifeandthecows

Netflix was never the place I thought I would seek the inspiration to write this first column of People in Ag UK, but, longing for some kind of farming film to break up the endless chick flicks and Christmas films I’d been binging on, I found ‘Growing Cities’ hidden away in the documentary section. The documentary effectively captures the road trip of two friends, Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette, who travel across America looking at urban farms in different cities and states. It was an entirely new concept to me, and watching the people turn un-utilised land into community farms struck me as genius. Inspiration, I realised, comes from the most unlikely of places. Not only were these farms bringing the people in these communities together, they were serving much greater purposes. Firstly, they realised the need to support a growing population on a more local scale – I was amazed at the number of people that live in ‘food deserts’, places in which they do not have access to stores selling affordable or nutritious foods. Secondly, these urban farms were educating and employing people from some of the most unlikely backgrounds. Ex convicts were welcomed to gain skills and and references whilst reintegrating themselves into society and before seeking long term employment. The problem of feeding an ever growing population on a limited, and diminishing land resource is real, and it is widely accepted that agriculture will need to adapt to cope with the challenge. I am doubtful that urban farms are the absolute answer to the ever growing challenge of feeding a booming population, but seeing communities address the issue on a local scale is encouraging. I personally believe that this mentality underpins the changes that agriculture needs to make. Resources, however inadequate they may seem, need utilising to ensure the future sustainability of food production. Over fertilisation of land, and the over reliance on chemical crop protection are leaving agriculture short of not only efficient and reliable products, but of mineable products themselves. Whilst the land we farm continues to decline, we need to look for alternative forms of land to make the most practical and efficient use of. Agriculture is an industry that has historically had an incredible propensity of adapting to challenges by embracing change. Mechanisation and improvements in both plant and animal genetics are examples of research and development working towards more efficient production practices. The importance of research and development cannot be ignored when looking to the future, and I would challenge people working within the industry, in whichever capacity, to begin making changes for the future now.


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REBECCA KELSALL A journey from horses to holsteins 24-year-old Rebeca Kelsall, from Cheshire, graduated from Harper Adams University in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Agricultural Business, and is currently working as an Area Sales Manager for Semex. Although her parents don’t farm, she has been involved in agriculture from a young age, by working on her Uncle’s farm plucking turkeys each year at Christmas and helping with the annual potato harvest. University was not something that Rebecca had considered until she started studying an Equine Diploma at Reasheath College. “I went to Reasheath because it was close to home, and as I already had horses, I thought studying the equine diploma would be relatively easy. A lot of my peers wanted to go into yard work, or to work as grooms, but this was never a career that I wanted for myself. When I was at Reasheath, Harper Adams was the sister university of the college, and the idea of Harper appealed to me as it was based in the countryside. I never really wanted to move to a city to study at university, and this is what put me off in the past. Harper, and the agri-business course, were the perfect choice because there was a good balance between agriculture and business”. Rebecca found that she gelled well on the Agri-Business course, as a lot of her peers were from similar backgrounds. Studying a degree in agri-business was challenging for Rebecca, as she didn’t have the agricultural background that would have been useful for particular modules, but by immersing herself fully into as much as she possibly could, she managed to pick up the knowledge and skills reasonably quickly. “Whilst studying my degree, I was relief milking on four different farms, as well as rearing my own rare breed pigs on my Uncle’s farm. I lived at home during my second year, and balancing the relief milking was difficult and tiring, but it is not


13 something that I regret at all. It was hard to keep the farmers happy and to keep on top of all of my work, but I managed to balance my time well. For me, it was a way of earning money before I went on placement, and it allowed me to get as involved as I possibly could in the dairy industry”. Being a young woman in agriculture also comes with its challenges, and this is something that Rebecca continues to notice. “Agriculture is still a very male dominated industry. My boyfriend is a farmer, and he will often try to stop me from doing jobs around the farm because he doesn’t think I’m strong enough. Additionally, working as a sales rep, I find that a lot of farmers don’t feel as comfortable talking to me as they would with a male sales rep. I think it is important to be seen as an individual in the industry, rather than as a gender”.

Rebecca spent her placement year with dairy and beef genetics company Genus Plc. Knowing that she wanted to spend her year in industry workingg with genetics, Rebecca approached Genus on a number of occasions to speak about a potential industry based placement with them. When the advert for the placement job eventually came out, Rebecca realised that she would now be up against competition for the role. “It was a daunting feeling at first, and I came out of my interview feeling that I could have said so much more, but about a week later I had a phone call offering me the job. I think I pretty much screamed down the phone because I was so excited. I was absolutely overwhelmed”. As with all jobs, there were some parts that Rebecca found difficult. “I think the most difficult thing for me was not coming from a dairy farm.

A lot of the other employees did, and so they already had an understanding of the pros and cons of the different families. This was something that I had to learn from scratch, but the longer I was at Genus the more I immersed myself into everything. It really is amazing how quickly you pick everything up”. There is no doubt that Rebecca’s year with Genus has helped her enormously with her career progression, and although initially she doubted her potential as a sales rep, Rebecca is now responsible for the sales in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, North Wales and Derbyshire with Semex. “Placement is so important and absolutely critical for students. I think that as a student you get so used to student life, and so having the opportunity of the placement year really does develop the skills you need for when you graduate, like interview skills for example. It really does enhance your CV and it makes it so much easier to gain experiences and jobs in the long term.


14 Having the opportunity to work for some big companies helps you to realise the wealth of careers in a particular industry”. Once Rebecca graduated from Harper, she began to work for an agri-business consultancy firm. “I worked for the firm during the Easter of my final year, and they offered me a graduate job which was a huge relief. I enjoyed the job initially, but when winter came and I was spending all of my daylight hours inside behind a computer, I realised that the job just wasn’t for me at all”. Rebecca visited the Semex conference in the January of 2017, and then saw a post on Facebook from Semex advertising for sales reps. “I sent in my CV with a covering letter and within a few weeks I had a reply inviting me to interview. The interview progress was very laid back, and although I had about 4 or 5 interviews and wondered if I was ever going to get the job, I kept pursuing it and eventually I was offered the job. Since then, I’ve not looked back and it has been the most amazing year”. “I think the most rewarding part of my job is definitely getting a sale, especially if you’ve been pursuing the sale for a while. I like helping farmers on a day to day basis, and I’m sure that in 

the future, seeing the changes happening on the farms will be really rewarding. I’m lucky that I cover quite a vast area with my job, and that means that I get to see a lot of really beautiful countryside”. Looking to the future, both short term and long term, Rebecca believes that farm labour is the biggest area of uncertainty when considering the implications Brexit will have on the dairy industry. “It is really hard to find UK based staff to work in the dairy industry, and a lot of farms do rely heavily on migrant labour. This will be hard for the UK when we leave the European Union, so I think it is important for businesses to future proof their business plans now, rather than later on. My partners herd milk three times a day, so we are currently looking to put a robotic system in place to help reduce our demands on labour. Farmers need to invest money into their future, and it will be the farms that don’t invest that will suffer the most”. “My future plan is to stay with Semex because I absolutely love my career. I think I will always be involved in the dairy industry, whether this be in genetics, in feed or as a herdswoman. I’m so passionate about it and I honestly can’t see myself  doing anything else. I think for the younger generation of people coming into farming it’s important for them to remember that they shouldn’t be frightened or scared. If you immerse yourself in everything and don’t let people put you down, you will succeed no matter what. Most of all, just don’t be afraid of hard work, because anything really is possible if you work at it hard enough”.

"I am so passionate about the dairy industry, and I can't see myself doing anything else" Follow Rebecca on twitter: @rebeccakelsall


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MATTHEW RANSON

Matthew Ranson, 17, from Surrey, lives with three generations on his family dairy farm. The herd of 300 milking Fresians are an autumn block calving herd on a grazing based system, and milk is sold on contract to Arla on Morrison’s grazing contract. Matthew is also studying a Level 3 diploma in agriculture at the Brinsby Campus in West Sussex, which is part of Chichester College. Matthew has been involved with the farm since the age of five, when he would feed calves and check on the cows. 12 years later his roles include milking, spotting heat cycles, feeding, rearing calves, general stock work and some machinery work. “I definitely feel like I am trusted on the farm, and I feel that I have a lot of responsibility”. Matthew decided to to study a diploma in agriculture to learn more about farming and all of the farming industries. “I think it is important to have an understanding of UK agriculture as a whole. By understanding the entire industry, we can learn how to help other sectors thrive, whilst learning lessons from others that we can apply to our own sector”.

Matthew believes that the benefits of having three generations on one farm greatly outweigh the disadvantages. “You can track the progress of the farm over several years, and there is always someone different looking at the stock, so there is always a fresh pair of eyes looking over them. There are a lot of heated discussions, but I’d say this is the only disadvantage of having all three generations on the farm”. Family holidays to Canada and Europe often involve stopping at one or two farms along the way for Matthew, however when he finishes his diploma he plans to travel to Europe to learn about dairying in wetter climates. Here he hopes to learn a number of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson he has learnt Studying a diploma isn’t easy, and there are a number in life and dairying so far is of challenges that Matthew faces. “My biggest “doing the same thing all the challenge is definitely staying on top of my time isn’t necessarily the best organisational skills. Balancing the diploma with thing. Moving away from the farming is tricky, but this is helped massively by family farm for a few years having a work based placement once a week. I chose should allow me to pick up as to work with a spring clock calving herd to learn much as I possibly can, so that something new, and because I live away from home I when I finally return home I don’t have the distraction of the family farm will be able to bring a number during the week. This is great because when I do go of new ideas to the business home to the farm I can concentrate all of my effort that will hopefully enable us to into the farm, rather than on college work”. improve the business”.


17 Inspired by his parents, Matthew believes that he wouldn’t be where he is today. “If it wasn’t for my parents, I probably wouldn’t know half the stuff that I know today, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to do as much stuff as I have done already”. Whether looking at Brexit or looking at volatility, Matthew believes that the challenges can be faced in the same way. “All dairy farmers, regardless of what type of system they are on, need to get their cost of production as low as possible”. Forward selling milk at a set price is the only way that Matthew believes the issue of volatile milk prices could be reduced. “Volatility will never be stopped, it can just be reduced, and I don’t just think it is the buyers that are to blame for volatile milk prices. Farmers are all guilty of chasing litres, and this floods the market, which in turn lowers the milk price”. Matthew finished with some advice for new entrants into dairying and agriculture: “take everything on board, work as hard as possible, and keep an open mind. Things aren’t always what they appear to be, and having an open mind will help you realise this”.

To find out more about Matthew, follow him on twitter: @farmerranson


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WILLIAM AWAN A YOUNG MAN WITH A BRIGHT AND PROMISING FUTURE At just 16 years of age, William occupation, but also to be the best everything for me so I can focus on Awan from Southstoke, near Bath, at what I do. I have seen how hard my work”.  is already proving himself as one to it will be to get the the top of the watch for the future. After receiving breed and that simply makes me William was in the fortunate two Dexter heifers for his 9th want to achieve it more, I believe position where a neighbouring birthday, William has grown his that I have the passion and ideas farmer, Bob, was looking to retire, business year-on-year with his to get myself there. I’m told so which allowed him to take on the profits to rear 35 Christmas regularly that its so hard to get farming partnership venture. turkeys, 31 Exmoor Horn Ewes, 5 into farming, so hard to make it Realising that it is difficult to get a Dexters, an egg and show flock of profitable, but being told that its head start in farming for a lot of chickens, and 36 traditional horned hard, simply makes me want to do people, William shared some Herefords. Entering into a farming it more”. advice. “Start things off small and partnership with his neighbour at let the business grow, I firmly the age of 14, William has built up Balancing his ever growing believe that is the best way into his numbers further, and plans to business with his A Level studies farming. Make sure you have a build a herd of polled Herefords can be challenging. “My school are profitable business model, and over the coming years, with the really supportive of the farming unless it it entirely unrealistic don’t recent purchase of his founding that I do and let me have a turn land down because you will female, Moralee 1 Kate 2nd in Thursday afternoon off to get on always regret it. You need to plan December at the annual Designer with my farming rather than well and make sure you have a Genes Sale.  staying in school to do sports – market for what you produce, I this is helpful if we have the vet wouldn’t intend to sell to William’s drive and determination coming, because I know there is a supermarkets, you want to try to for success is strongly down to his time in the week that I’ll be free. If add some extra value by selling a passion for agriculture. Being there are sales or shows that I to a local farm shop. I have found completely obsessed with farming need to go to, they let me take the that if you have the passion and and proving people wrong are the day off which is great. My dad and you can convey that to people they two things that keep him focussed Bob are both also really helpful, will try their best to help you, on his future. “I’m driven by the and if I have exams they will check whether that be through buying  difficulty in succeeding, not only in on  being able to have this as an 


21 your produce, giving you advice, or renting you land, people will go out of their way to help you if you treat them right and show them your enthusiasm”. William believes that a farming partnership is the ideal situation for him, as it allows him to work with someone with a different skill set and different knowledge, meaning that he can continually learn from his business partner. “Obviously farming in a partnership can be difficult, but making sure that both parties have the same aim for the business and working harmoniously are the most important things. Sometimes people don’t take me seriously because I am so young, and they respond better to Bob because he is older and has a different personality, but sometimes people will respond to me better because of my enthusiasm”.

It hasn’t only been his family and his school that have supported William with his ambitions; “I’ve had support from too many people to name them individually, but the Exmoor Horn Breed Society have been an exceptional support to me, especially in this past year as they awarded me a special prize for ‘Outstanding Young Shepherd’. It was really great to see all of my effort and hard work being recognised by the breed. Many of the breeders in the society will help me shear my sheep and brand the horns ready for shows. They have a long way to travel to get to me, and I don’t think they realise how thankful I am for their continued support”. The Hereford Cattle Society are another group that William believes are helping the younger generation to thrive, by putting on a youth programme, which is run by Emma 

Smith. “Every year they host an event at one of their breeders. The sessions teach you valuable skills, and they are also a fantastic opportunity to make contact and visit some of the best breeders in the UK”. Although he usually hates holidays in any form, William would like to travel, starting with a UK road trip to visit some more of the polled Hereford herds around the UK once he passes his driving test. After this he would like to visit Canada for the Canadian Agribition, and Denmark to visit some Danish cattle.

"People will go out of their way to help you if you show them your enthusiasm"


Once he completes his A Levels, William intends to go to a top agricultural university to study a degree in either Agriculture or Agricultural Science. He recently visited Harper Adams University on an open day and was very impressed with the university, the atmosphere and the facilities. I’m not biased, but I’d have to agree with him. Once he graduates, he would like to pursue a career in genetics, or would like to farm his own pedigree stock. He plans to keep on farming whilst at university, with the help from Bob and his dad. “Thankfully showing season is in the summer when I’ll be on my summer break, meaning I will still be able to show. I know farming whilst studying a degree will be difficult, but it is worth getting the qualification to help with my future career aspirations”. In a manner that can only be described as mature for his age, William realises the sacrifices his parents, who are both of medical professions, have made in order for him to pursue his dreams. “I honestly cannot put into words how supportive my parents have been, especially my dad. He has been unbelievable, and he helps me check my animals, drives me to sales and to shows, and drives the sheep and the cattle to the abattoir when they’re ready for slaughter. It isn’t just this, it’s the extra sacrifices both of my parents have made. We don’t go on many holidays these days which annoys my sisters in particular, but I genuinely really appreciate everything that my mum and dad, and my wider family do. Without their efforts I wouldn’t be where I am today”.  Looking to Brexit, William believes that the opportunities that Brexit will offer young farmers are hard to understand, because they are not publicised. “I think the most difficult thing will be to lose subsidies; these are so important to young farmers looking to start a farming business in the industry, and I think they are an absolutely vital source of income. The lack of this extra income will make tight profit margins even tighter. We hear nothing about the opportunities Brexit will bring farmers. Obviously people thought there would be opportunities, because a majority voted to leave, so these should be more widely publicised”. With the aim to build his own pedigree herd, William purchased Moralee 1 Kate 2nd at the second annual Designer Genes Sale held at Shrewsbury Livestock Auction Market in December. Recognising that the Moralee herd were a relatively new, but highly successful Hereford herd, William had his eye on Kate since the 2017 Great Yorkshire Show. “I fell in love with Kate at the Great Yorkshire Show as soon as she came out of the shed and into the ring. I was wowed by her and she was exactly what I was looking for as the founding female for my herd”. Determined to buy Kate, who has Romany Mink as her grandmother, William had to wait until December to begin his herd. The Moralee herd, founded in 2011, have already been very 

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23 successful in the show ring, with their bull Porterhouse taking Grand Male Champion at the Hereford Cattle Breeders’ Association 10th Annual Christmas Calf Show. “There were some really stunning females at the Designer Genes Sale, but I knew Kate would be an incredible breeding female. For me, it proves that it isn’t just the show feeding and preparation that make an animal look fantastic, it is the genetics”. William believes that genetics are the most important thing to consider when founding a herd, with daughters often being a ‘clone’ of their mothers.  William also considers international genetics to be of great importance to the Hereford breed, saying that “the Hereford truly is an exceptional example of a world wide breed”. With some of the best genetics now coming from Australia, Canada, the USA and Denmark, William believes that the addition of these genetics to the UK herd will work wonders. “Denmark especially are producing genetics that will benefit the UK, and having the option to import live cattle from Denmark makes the Danish cattle even more attractive to the UK herd”. He went on with some words of caution, “I am always interested by the fact that bulls in Australia, the USA and Canada often sell for very high prices, and I strongly believe against using the price of a bull as its mark of quality. Photos can be deceiving as factors like the angle of the shot can change the way an animal looks; pictures cannot convey the size of an animal properly”. He finished by showing his awareness of the show scene around the world. “Different judges from different countries will favour different cattle. Danish cattle are much darker with less white on the neck, and they are often smaller, but with good body shape. This isn’t always popular with British judges, who like to see the white T on the back end, and a slightly bigger cow. Although they have great shape, they might not be placed highly. Saying this, I do still think that international genetics will have a huge role to play with the breed in Britain, by adding diversity and strengthening particular traits in the breed”.

It is clear to see that William has a passion for all things farming, with a certain soft spot for the Hereford breed. A mature and well informed young man, I have no doubt that he will continue to thrive in the coming years, and I am excited to see him and Moralee 1 Kate 2nd out and about on the showing scene this summer. Follow William on Instagram to keep up with his progress: @williamawan And on Facebook: @MidfordHerefords


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RECENT SUCCESS SCHOLARSHIP STAR Final year BSc Food and Nutrition student Amy Stoner, 21, from Oxfordshire has secured a scholarship with Clyde Higgs in honour of her dairy based dissertation, 'GalactoOligosaccharides: Consumer Perceptions and Identification of Appropriate Product Applications', for which she has partnered up with Dairy Crest. Amy is an active member of Farringdon Young Farmers, and spent 6 months of her placement year from Harper Adams on a prestigious exchange with Cornell University, New York.Â

Amy described studying at Cornell as "the best 6 months". It allowed her to undertake a variety of food science classes not available at Harper, gain a couple of food safety qualifications and travel a lot of America and South America. She finished by saying "I would definitely recommend studying abroad, as it definitely broadens your horizons and gives you a competitive advantage when applying for awards and graduate jobs".

Above Amy on her travels in Ecuador during her exchange at Cornell University, 2017

"I am very pleased to have won the Clyde Higgs scholarship, it will help support with my dissertation research, and I am very thankful to the panel for choosing me" - Amy

my A , s n o i t tula Congra


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2017: THE YEAR THAT DIDN'T DISAPPOINT 2017 has been an incredibly busy year for one particular Harper Adams University student. Yorkshire born Josh, 21, has had a number of successes over the past 12 months which have cumulated most recently with Josh winning the Farmers Weekly Agriculture Student of the Year, receiving the Harper Adams Club Scholarship, and breaking more records again in the 2nd annual Designer Genes Sale. Josh was put forward for the prestigious Farmers Weekly award by the Coop, whilst on his industrial placement with them. After impressing judges with his application and his interviews, Josh went on to win the title in October, against some stiff competition from two other worthy recipients of the award.  After his success in London at the Farmers Weekly Awards, Josh decided to apply for the Harper Adams Club Scholarship. The Harper Adams Club Scholarship is funded by alumni of the university, and are awarded to students with a good academic record that will make good future ambassadors for the university. After applying, Josh clearly wowed yet another panel of judges with his written application and interview to win the award, which will be presented to him in February at the Scholarship Awards Day. Finally, but by no means least, the 2nd Annual Designer Genes Hereford Sale was an enormous success. The time and effort that Josh spends hand picking the lots for the sale really make the event a whole lot more special. This was reflected by the prices paid on the day, with Sky High 1 Lâncome Lucy reaching 11,000gns in the ring, and the sale average of £5,062 making it the highest averaging Hereford sale in UK history. 

osh J , s n o i t a Congratul


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Closing Remarks

If you've stuck with us this far, then thank you. This concludes the first issue of People in Ag UK, and I hope you've enjoyed reading the stories and hearing the opinions of our five young farmers and two recent successes that featured in this issue.

This has been one of the biggest challenges I have ever taken on, and when I started putting this issue together, I had no idea just how much of a task it would be. If you have any news, you would like to be a feature, or if you would like to help with any future issues, please get in touch with me to let me know, my email can be found in the 'In this issue' section. Until next time,

Emily Hickman EDITOR

People in Ag UK - January 2018|Issue 1|Focus on Young Farmers  

This first issue of the free, quarterly, online magazine features the stories of five young farmers from dairy, beef and pig backgrounds.

People in Ag UK - January 2018|Issue 1|Focus on Young Farmers  

This first issue of the free, quarterly, online magazine features the stories of five young farmers from dairy, beef and pig backgrounds.

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