THE SPRING EDITION
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THE MASTER’S APPRENTICE GLASTONDAIRY WORK HARD, PLAY HARD THE #SF ROAD TRIP: PART TWO THE GREAT BRITISH BREAKFAST GOAT WITH THE FLOW ‘AVE A BUTCHERS PURE IMAGINATION FARMING ON THE SILVER SCREEN YFC CONVENTION SURVIVAL GUIDE FARMING FURTHER AFIELD POSTER
I know what you’re thinking – you want to book an all-inclusive trip to our island, don’t you? Even if you’re not, you’ve got to admit it looks uh-mazing. Just keep staring at it and you’ll find quirky little things you never knew existed, and everything on our cover is featured in this magazine. We’re now on our 12th edition and we still keep uncovering quirky, interesting stories thanks to all of you – the next generation of farmers, growers, scientists and managers. Each and every one of you has a story to tell, and you’ve got to stand up and shout about it. We had so much quirkiness for this edition that we could’ve filled the magazine twice over. You’ve never been a lot that disappoints. You’re all part of a future of agriculture, and without you, that future simply wouldn’t exist. So stick out your chests and shout from the bottom of your lungs – you’re awesome.
Victoria Wilkins Editor of #studentfarmer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook.com/StudentFarmer Twitter: @studentfarmer
Published by: NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, CV8 2TZ
Designed by: John Cottle
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Nigel Sussman for our amazing front cover, May van Millingen for the beautiful map illustration, Rex Features and iStock.
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THE MASTER'S APPRENTICE
f the first thing that springs to mind when you hear the word ‘apprentice’ is an angry-looking Lord Sugar or a surreal Nicholas Cage film, then you need educating. Meet some of the young farmers and growers who are studying apprenticeships as an option to further their career in the sector, proving that there is an alternative to burying your head in a textbook. You never know, it could just be for you. Visit Bright Crop at www.brightcrop.org.uk to learn more.
Practice makes perfect. That’s Charlie Phipps’ motto, and after winning John Deere’s Apprentice of the Year award last year he’s convinced the sky’s the limit. Let’s be honest, he works with brand-spanking-new farm machinery every day – what’s not to love? THE APPRENTICESHIP IS HANDS DOWN THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. FACT. I come from a mixed family farm, and for my apprenticeship I studied in partnership with a company called Farol, as well as John Deere, and the application process was easy. My brother had already done an apprenticeship with Farol and John Deere three years prior, and he really recommended it. I’d been to college before and it was really academic, so the apprenticeship allowed me to keep learning in the workplace. IT’S A MIX OF BOTH WORKING AND LEARNING. The first thing I did was contact my local John Deere dealer, and following a two-week trial they offered me an apprenticeship. During the three-year course you spend eight weeks at college, then the rest of the time in the workplace. THE BEST THING ABOUT IT? I GOT A JOB AT THE END. During my apprenticeship I spent all of my time maintaining and repairing machines both in the workshop and on customer’s farms. I worked alongside fully trained
technicians to help build up my skills, and once I finished my apprenticeship I got offered the position of service adviser, so I now organise the technicians' day-today schedule, and plan work to ensure that all the work is completed to a high standard. Plus, it’s really important to reduce customer downtime and increase our efficiencies. IT’S GIVEN ME A BUILDING BLOCK. As my family are all involved in farming both arable and livestock, it’s played a huge part in my career choices, and the apprenticeship has given me a good
building block in working within the agricultural business. It gives you the tools to start a career in anything, and sets you up with the knowledge and attributes required to be successful in the workplace. WORK READY? NO PROBLEM. University gives you the knowledge, but an apprenticeship gives you the knowledge and the chance to put it into practice – that stays with you for life. In any business some of the highest people normally started from the bottom and have worked their way up. Apprenticeships give you the chance to do that.
Molly Sellar has big hopes for the future, and wants to run her own dairy farm. She’s determined to prove that there is a future in dairy, and she’s going to make it. SHEEP? NO WAY. My dad is a farm manager of a sheep enterprise, but I ‘ve always been interested in cows, so I decided that’s what I was going to do, and I did it. I love learning about the cows, the milking process and the management of the animals. Maybe one day I could have my own dairy? Definitely.
Some might say Ashley is mad about pigs – he works on a farm with 1,100 of them. And even though it’s his grandad’s farm, he thinks that apprenticeships can offer those without a farming background a route in. I’M LUCKY – I HAVE MY GRANDAD. He’s a pig farmer, and I used to go around after school to help out as much as I could, and now I’m employed by his business for my apprenticeship. I love the reward of getting the animal to its end goal weight – it sounds weird but it’s a great feeling. KNOWLEDGE BUILDING – THAT’S WHY AN APPRENTICESHIP FOR ME. I was working on the farm and I wanted to enhance my knowledge and learn different practical skills that I could apply in my work life. The learning is split into different weeks, which cover different topics relating to the area you want to focus on. Then you can apply your learning on the job. PEOPLE THINK THAT FARMING ISN’T THE EASIEST THING TO GET INTO. Especially if you’re not from a farming family. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Apprenticeships offer those with no background in farming the chance to experience it – we’re not all lucky enough to be given a farm from day one. Working at the same time as learning is really beneficial, because you can always improve on what you’re learning.
FOUR WALLS IS A MASSIVE TURN OFF. Being stuck in college all week is a massive turn off – how are you going to learn to deal with a cow unless you’re well, dealing with a cow? You learn the theory, then get out in the field and put it into practice. I find it really easy to apply my knowledge, and if you don’t understand it there are tutors on hand to guide you. It’s constant development. THERE ARE LOTS OF MYTHS ABOUT DAIRY FARMING. You sometimes have to take the risk, and then you’ll get the reward. There are lots of stories in the news about volatility in dairy. Lots of people think dairy farming is harsh, especially when calves are involved. But you’re actually really involved with their upbringing and everything is very hands on – you're really invested in their health and welfare.
Danny Gapp was born into a family of dairy farmers, and always knew he wanted to be part of the business one day. But he’s determined to learn more to make sure the family business is the best it can be. I LOVE DAIRY, BUT I WANTED TO EXPAND MY KNOWLEDGE. The apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to work with different breeds of cow. I’m really keen to work with different animals and learn more skills. It’s increased my knowledge with the animals that I hope to work with, and the place where I’m learning my apprenticeship has a wide-range of animals including beef cattle, sheep and pigs. As I was working full time on the family farm already I wanted to be able to gain more knowledge from college to support the practical elements. I WANT TO ENHANCE OUR FAMILY BUSINESS. There’s always new ways to do things, and I want to try and apply the knowledge I’ve learnt during my apprenticeship to improve the farm back at home. That’s really the end goal. Working with other likeminded people really opens your eyes to doing things differently. I love it. YOU LEARN VITAL LIFE SKILLS. I’d recommend apprenticeships if you’re a physical, hands-on learner, rather than sitting behind a desk. You get paid on the job as well, so there’s an aspect of earning your own money and budgeting, which all prepares you for future jobs. I can practice as much as I want on the herd too, which I probably wouldn’t be able to if I came straight out of university, and you get work packs on every aspect of livestock management.
After hearing stories about how her grandfather used to own a local farm, Louise Youles knew that she wanted to give it a go, but didn’t quite know where to start. A-levels didn’t suit her, so when she saw an apprenticeship advert in the paper, she bit Greenvale’s hand off. FARMING GOT UNDER MY SKIN. My grandad used to be a farmer – he owned the farm just along the road from Greenvale. He was farming a bit of everything including potatoes. I’ve heard all the stories about farming and producing, and I just wanted to get involved. THE A-LEVEL ROUTE WASN’T FOR ME. I didn’t do as well in my first year as I would’ve hoped, which meant I had to look at other routes and opportunities. I saw the position at Greenvale in the local paper. It’s a local company for me, and as I knew a bit about farming and the job role I thought ‘Why not?’ – it offered me the chance to experience different areas of the factory and the potatoes sector.
IT’S THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. Studying wasn’t a good plan as it just wasn’t working for me. The apprenticeship offered me the opportunity to try different things while learning on the job. At the moment I’m in a fixed job role studying my level two apprenticeship as a production administrator, but for my first year I moved around the factory and learnt about all the different areas from intake, the weighbridge in the factory itself, dispatch, and even learning a little bit about HR. There was never a dull moment. HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT? DON’T WORRY. You can see what sort of area suits you and I really enjoyed working at the weighbridge, which I would never have guessed if I hadn’t been given the opportunity to experience it. For the first year I had to learn about all the different jobs.
IF I WAS READING OUT OF THE TEXTBOOK, I’D GO BLANK. Apprenticeships give you the chance to learn and gain that experience that two or three years in academic study can’t give you. You can’t grasp the complexity of things sometimes. You get to see things for yourself and visualise it. It’s opened so many doors, though. If I get offered a job at Greenvale once I’ve finished that will be amazing, but I’m also looking at completing a level four apprenticeship which is equivalent to a degree, hopefully doing it within my company if I can.
Most people think the Eden Project is just a fancy structure that people go to point and stare at. Wrong. City girl Rosie has learnt everything she knows about horticulture thanks to the project, and is determined to show that just about anyone can study an apprenticeship, no matter what their background is. I’VE GOT NO FARMING BACKGROUND AS I GREW UP IN THE BIG SMOKE. Funnily enough, there isn’t much agricultural work in the city, but my mum got an allotment so I started to help her, then after that I was there more than she was. Being outdoors and engulfed in nature was a good start to being hooked on horticulture, and travelling and seeing different plants in different climates was pretty awesome I DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY THANKS TO THE IDEA OF DEBT. But I didn’t want that to stop me from learning. I’d visited Eden before and I knew I loved it. I always knew that having experience in your chosen field – especially two years’ of it – was going to be better than just studying. I wanted that hands-on job. As I am an older apprentice at 24, I kind of took this apprenticeship thinking that it was my university.
APPRENTICESHIPS = INDEPENDENCE. You don’t need experience in whatever field you choose to do one in. Everybody is willing to help you get the best out of your time. You will be working with people who are so skilled in what they do. You are a full time member of staff and get treated the same. Then – as a complete bonus - you’re getting paid a wage. No question is stupid, either. THE LEARNING PROCESS CHANGES THROUGHOUT. For the first year we change teams every three weeks, so we can understand what each team really does. Then for the second we focus on our chosen placements – this will be for about seven weeks. I’m learning everything from rainforest conservation to environmental issues, to floristry and even Eden weddings.
Michael Eavis was never going to be a farmer â€“ fact. He wanted to be in the navy. There would be no Glastonbury Festival, and no super cool farming story to boot. See what happened when he invited #studentfarmer to experience Glastonbury Festival as youâ€™ve never seen it before. Victoria Wilkins reports.
here are too many surreal things to list that #studentfarmer have been involved in, but being driven around in a Land Rover with Michael Eavis has to top the list. It’s not every day you get to be chauffeured around by a short-wearing farmer, least of all one who’s rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous people on the planet, either. What soon follows the strange surreal sensation is the realisation that he’s behind what’s potentially the most ultimate farm diversification: Glastonbury Festival. Close your eyes for a minute and think about what the first thing is that springs to mind when you think about the annual rock festival. I’ll tell you what you’re not thinking of: a 900-acre dairy farm that’s working flat out behind the scenes. You’re forgiven – when the camera crews descend and the festivalgoers pile in, it couldn’t get farther from the serene, blissful quiet that the countryside has to offer. And by then it’s all too easy to let the images of a cider can floating down a man-made mud river take over. We’re at the blissful quiet stage when we rock up to Worthy Farm one Friday morning in April. We’re greeted by a yard full of Land Rovers, in several different colours, and a bar with a single tap of Guinness on. I’m later told this isn’t how they pay the staff at Glastonbury, although I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t turn down the offer. After looking forlornly at the Guinness tap for too long we’re ushered in to an office and wait in the lounge like we’re waiting for a job interview, and the nerves set in. Every journalist gets them, and
before long you forget your questions and yep – there we go, I’m fumbling around in my bag reminding myself what I’m supposed to ask. We can hear Michael’s voice – it’s a distinctive West Country twang that I’ve heard on the radio countless times before. You know what it sounds like – you’re probably imagining it in your head as you read. Over the course of the next five minutes, we’re in front of Michael who’s responding to fan mail – a daily ritual – and he’s asking if me and the photographer are in a relationship. Not awkward at all. To set the scene, he’s wearing a pair of
knee-length shorts, a barbour jacket and a deerstalker hat. Totes trendy. Before long he takes us on a tour of the office building – which is covered in various festival artwork – including a frame filled with wristbands from the year dot. But he’s not that bothered about the office. He wants to get down to the real stuff – the farm. “Shall we get in the Land Rover and see the cows – that’s good, isn’t it?” he asks, and we pile into the red Land Rover parked outside and begin our journey around the farm. I thought this was a dairy farm – anyone would be mistaken for thinking otherwise – sheep litter the green pasture like they own the place, and there’s several thousand of them. “The sheep are doing a good job, aren’t they?” he asks. “We bring the sheep in during the winter months to clean up all the pasture. They eat the grass right down in preparation for the cows.” Michael has a partnership with a local farmer who moves his entire flock of sheep onto the land from the day the cows are housed in winter, until the end of April. They eat away all the dead grass, allowing for regrowth, and then by the time they’re moved off the pasture the cows come out of the shed to a three-course
meal waiting for them. “We rotate the sheep around to graze the grass down,” he says as we’re sitting at the top of hill looking out across the farm, the land dotted with white splodges. It’s not the end of April yet, and his cows are still housed inside the Mootel – a luxury cow shed that the cows call home. Rumour has it that Michael used to play the Kinks to soothe the cows (Google them...). But the herd doesn’t come out as soon as the sheep are moved on – no. Everything is routinely managed in order to make sure the grass is ready for the festival. “As soon as the sheep are moved on, we harrow all the land, spread the slurry and then the rain comes,” he says. Michael’s nodding – I get the impression there is never, ever any doubt of the rain coming in Pilton, Somerset. “Once we’ve got the grass, we cut all the silage and the cows are out at pasture in certain fields. So by the time the festival comes all of the fields are freshly cut and ready for the people to come.” It’s a clockwork process – if anything runs over, or under, it could compromise the preparation time the festival has. And with over 400 workers descending on Worthy Farm in the run up to the event, everything has to run on time. And up until four weeks before the festival, the cows are grazing in the fields – including the one that we’re standing in now that’s got the bare bones of the Pyramid Stage in it. I may have gotten a little too excited that Pharrell Williams has
stood where I’m standing right now. For those of you that want the inside scoop about what the backstage area at Glastonbury looks like: there’s a massive oak tree smack bang in the middle of the stage area, and it’s full of owls. Just imagine Kim Kardashian last year with owls – I dare you. This stage is the fourth one they’ve built – and thankfully due to health and safety it’s not held up by the farmer’s friend – baling twine – which Michael says has saved them more than once. He knows Glastonbury has got a reputation for being muddy, but a whole eight months after the festival looking at the field you wouldn’t have guessed a thing. As soon as the festival is over the farm workers builed up banks to control the flow of rainwater. That’s when I go from talking about mud to talking about the likes of Kanye West. I ask him if he gets much say in the band choices with a raised eyebrow. “I hope so, I pay for them,” he says, and there it is again, the infectious warm laugh that we’ve heard the entire journey. He tells us that his team are always looking for bands around the UK, going to gigs and watching them perform (dream job, much?). They then list all the ones they like, and the booking starts. I’m guessing no one ever says no to performing at Glastonbury Festival. But it’s important that the people coming to the festival – both performers and spectators – know about the working
farm. Everywhere you look festivalgoers are reminded to ‘Love the farm, leave no trace’ and the milk from the dairy, and other local farms, are sold on-site for £1 a carton. The tractors get involved, selling milk off the back of a wagon to bleary-eyed partiers too. It’s about now that I take you back to that surreal sensation I had when I first set foot on Worthy Farm, and I can confirm it’s probably just about gone. Now all I’ve got left in me is the sheer respect for the people that work on site. One thing for sure – the festival couldn't work without the farm. So next time you’re watching Glastonbury on TV spare a thought for the farm that’s making it all possible – and for the cows in the Mootel.
college continued with their mission of promoting farming to young people by creating a new video with a star from the TV show The Voice. Bradley Waterman appeared on the successful BBC show as part of Boy George’s team. Having made waves on the big screen, in his latest venture, Bradley came to Easton and Otley College to take part in a video called tractor cab karaoke. Based loosely on a format made famous by James Corden on his American hit The Late Late Show called carpool karaoke, Bradley teamed up with schools engagement officer - Dani Chatten from the college - to talk about his career. The interview took place in a tractor cab and has been released on the college’s YouTube channel. As well as talking about his career, Bradley played a selection of famous songs including Get Lucky by Daft Punk and the iconic Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses. On being involved in this project, the 19 year old, said, “It went really well – it was my first time in a tractor, it was great talking to Dani and I learnt a bit about the college. At the moment, I can’t release anything until July so I am going to keep gigging and keep writing albums to raise my profile and this will definitely help me get my name out - I appreciate the opportunity.” Miss Chatten, from the college, said, “It was a really fun project and Bradley was a great guest. We talked about the college, farming and he discussed his plans for the future. One of our missions as a college is to promote farming to new generations in fun ways. For example, I was part of a team who created an art competition for primary schools where youngsters had to draw pictures of what a tractor looked like in 100 years from now. And the
college created a song based on the hit ‘combine harvester’ song made famous by The Wurzels that attracted over 80,000 hits on YouTube. In addition to this new video, a team from the college is gearing up to try and win a national farming competition – The Cereals Challenge – for the third year in a row. This year’s event will be taking place at Duxford in Cambridgeshire. Six teams have won through to the finals of this agronomy challenge that takes place in June 2016. The challenge changes every year and on this occasion, teams will be looked at in terms of their abilities, judgement and research abilities in relation to the nurturing of a crop of peas. James Vawser is the team captain for 2016. He said, “I’m very excited about winning through to the finals. I’m looking forward to being challenged on the agronomy side of our industry. Being involved in the competition will give me a chance to test myself at the highest level.” James and a fellow student on an HE programme at the college (George Gay) also took part in a European ploughing competition in Estonia last year. They travelled to the Baltics and competed in an annual event against ten European teams and 27 other contestants. They were up against students from countries such as Austria, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland and the hosts, Estonia. George Gay, said, “We were judged on straightness, depth, furrow to furrow and we did really well – James came fourth and I came 15th. It was a great experience. The competition was taken very seriously. We probably under-estimated how seriously. But we worked hard and James was the highest ranked non Estonian in the competition.” Other students competed in competitions abroad whilst representing their country at one of the largest agricultural shows in the world.
Bradley Waterman from The Voice filmed a video with Dani Chatten from the college promoting farming
Students gaining industry advice in the run up to a national farming competition
Charlie Askew, Megan Watkins and Kyle Ledger represented their country in Paris this year
Farming students were featured in a lifestyle magazine fashion spread late last year
The learners Kyle Ledger and Megan Watkins took part in a cattle stockjudging competition at the Paris agricultural show on Wednesday 2 March 2016 and made college lecturer Charlie Askew ‘incredibly proud’… Charlie, a farming lecturer, said, “This was Megan’s first time abroad in her life and Kyle is only sixteen but they both finished in the top half of a competition against students from other parts of the world.” “In terms of the competition itself, they were judged on their ability in terms of two categories – dairy and beef. Logistically it all went well and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Both specialise in either one or the other (dairy and beef) so they were out of their comfort zones. But they dealt with the pressure in difficult circumstances.” Kyle come 26th out of 80 competitors and Megan came
39th. The overall winners came from Sweden with Austria in second and Belgium in third place. College spokesperson, John Nice, said, “We pride ourselves in offering students new experiences as part of their course. From working with industry, to competing in national and international competitions, the idea is to help our students learn new skills, progress and also have fun. We even had a group of farming students who took part in a fashion shoot for a lifestyle magazine last year.” Easton and Otley College came together in August 2012. (Prior to that, two separate colleges Easton based in Norfolk and Otley based in Suffolk existed). Part of the reasoning behind the coming together of two established educational establishments was to promote agriculture and land-based courses to new generations of people in East Anglia and beyond.
For more details about agricultural courses at Easton and Otley College, call 08000 224556 or visit www.eastonotley.ac.uk
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD. Farming is a lifestyle, not a day job. Thatâ€™s what Welsh rugby player Dan Lydiate thinks. Heâ€™s out there to prove that rugby and farming have one thing in common: hard work.
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ARMING IS IN MY BLOOD AND I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. I grew up on my parent’s 500-acre hill farm in Mid-Wales; it was my grandfather’s before them and has been in my family for generations. My brother and I will be the fifth generation on the same farm. My parents are sheep farmers, but my grandfather had sheep and cattle on the farm but sold them when he retired.
MY FUTURE AFTER RUGBY IS DEFINITELY FARMING. ALWAYS. I’ve always wanted to go back and farm after my rugby career and build on the land we have, but I'm just keeping my eyes and ears open at the moment to see if any land or farms come up for sale near my parent’s farm to build on. I’m hoping to be able to farm a bit myself, as well as helping out at home. The family farm wouldn’t be able to support my parents, my brother’s family and my family financially so I am trying to look at ways that I could supplement my income, possibly through contracting. Hopefully I’ll be able to get something up and running in the next few years which will be ticking over in the background while I’m still playing.
NO REGRETS, THAT’S MY MOTTO. I started following my brother to rugby training when I was around 10-yearsold at my local side, Rhayader RFC. My parents supported me a lot especially with driving me to different training session and games. When I started playing at a higher level it ended up being a two-hour drive to an hour session and then two hours back home. I’ve had some big injuries in my career, but it spurred me on to get back to the level I was playing and try and achieve more. I know rugby is not a job for life so I try to make the most of it. When I finally hang my boots up hopefully I won’t have any regrets. I haven't got any yet. STARTING UP IS HARD, BUT GO FOR IT. Even though farming can be rewarding, it can be very hard to start up in this industry. But there are a lot of grants and help for young farmers – you’ve just got to work and look for them. There's plenty of help for people to get into the industry with training courses. Farming is brilliant, and so rewarding. You are your own boss and you get to work outside in the beautiful countryside we have. Yes, with weather things go wrong, but everyone has bad days and on the whole it’s not a bad industry to make a living. THE RUGBY LADS LOVE MY FARMING. A lot of the boys are very interested and always ask when they can come up to the farm. Some of them would like to have their own smallholdings and different animals – I’m convinced. Who’s most likely to give it a go on the farm? Most of boys would give it go to be fair, but some would be better than others. Some would rather be city slickers than grafting out on a farm
somewhere. Scarlets centre Scott Williams would be a cracking shout – I'd have him on my farm any day. FARMERS ARE LOADED? NO CHANCE. The one stereotype I’d like to bust is that farmers are all absolutely loaded. Most people believe that every farmer is rich but as my father told me, farming is the worst paying job for the hours you put in. Most farmers do what they do for the way of life, not for the money. That's what makes us the best. THE CURRENT CLIMATE IS UNCERTAIN. There's a lot of uncertainty regarding payments at the moment. I think it will be a tough few years for farmers until it levels out and they know what income their farms are going to have in the future. Farms will have to adjust to the new payment schemes and plan ahead so that the business is still profitable. WELSH MOUNTAIN SHEEP ARE SOLID. They’d easily make the best rugby playing sheep breed. They’re resilient and survive in the roughest conditions.
We asked Dan for his top three songs to blast out the speakers on farm. We weren’t disappointed – well maybe we were. A little bit. He didn’t pick Ghostbusters. Seal - Kiss From a Rose Alanis Morisette - Ironic Michael Jackson – Black or White
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD. Working from a young age has made me have a good work ethic. Most farmers I know are grafters and have a work hard, play hard mentality. I’d like to think I use that ethos whenever I lace up my rugby boots. I don’t really play a glamorous position – it's more the about the amount of grafting work I can get through in the game, but I do enjoy the position I play. Farm work definitely helps. Mind you – it would be nice to score a try now and again! Come on, it's not like I'm asking for much, is it?
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All aboard – this is an adventure you won’t want to miss. Introducing the #studentfarmer road trip: part two. ritish farmers are the best in the world. Fact. And they produce some pretty awesome things, including top-notch beer and cider, and now it’s getting warmer, what can beat a nice, cool cider in the field? With summer on the horizon it’ll soon be time to whip off your clothes (not all of them you lot at the back!), head outside, maybe get the barbie on, and enjoy a little tipple, responsibly. Now, you don’t have to be sipping on a postmodern vodka brewed by some pygmy tribe in the middle of Antarctic. Nope, we make plenty of nice brews in this country. So sit back, and enjoy #studentfarmer’s guide to a few of the best homemade beers, ciders and ales. It is festival season, after all. And don’t forget, if you visit any – or try any – send us a picture!
When someone asks you if they can build a brewery on your farm, you can hardly say no. Purity brewery was born in Warwickshire and has stayed true to its agricultural roots by naming its beers after characters from the farm. Pure Gold for the view Paul and James discovered, that convinced them this was the right place for their brewery, Mad Goose, in honour of a rogue, rather erratic goose that once trapped a visitor to Purity. And they also have their Longhorn IPA named after, you guessed it, Granville’s herd of Longhorn cattle.
Henry Bulmer left school through illness and taught himself everything he knew and in 1888 their first factory was born. Fact alert: Henry’s business partner and brother Fred was offered the chance to teach the King of Siam’s children. He declined – his replacement, Anna, was the inspiration behind the King and I. More coolness: American space agency NASA sent one of its space mission capsules to a Hereford cider festival when the cider company named one of its drinks after the historic Apollo XI mission to the moon.
They sell cyder, not cider, and they’ve been making it since 1728. They re-launched in 1990 and brought with them arguably one of booze’s finest bottles – taking inspiration from the 1920s. They grow 46 different varieties of apple on farm, with the oldest trees dating back to the early 1900s – the youngest are less than a year old. They also make vinegar and refer to the younger trees at their orchard as children. We’ve tried to justify this by recognising that most of us at #sf refer to our dogs as children.
It’s no surprise that rugby and cider go hand in hand – and we’re not complaining. Kingstone is the main sponsor of the Rugby League Championships and the Rugby League World Cup. And that’s not all, if you were one of the (un) lucky finishers in last year’s uber-trendy Tough Mudder races, a bottle of its fine stuff would have greeted you at the end. It’s three varieties – apple, pear and mixed berry – come from 300 acres of orchards in the Malvern Hills, packed in Birmingham. Fact: the press has a name – Kingstone. Coincidence much?
We can confirm that four brothers are in fact behind this brand – which even launched a pear cider at Glastonbury festival. In fact, they may just be the people behind the cider bus you see everyone going on about online. Its heritage dates back to 1658 (yes 14 generations), and since it was first created the company has bent the rules when it comes to flavour. It now has a toffee apple cider, and its latest creations are coconut and lime, and strawberry and kiwi. Look out for the Brothers Cider Boot at music festivals up and down the country this summer. Plus, if you ever fancy delving into the history books, Brothers is most definitely the brand to look at. Tip: good historic pictures.
Ask anyone to name a cider and the first one that probably springs to mind is this bad boy. On tap at most pubs, Strongbow is made from Herefordshire apples. It’s also named after an AngloNorman knight who was renowned for his bow and arrow skills during battle. That makes it officially the butchest cider on the market. Plus it’s the daddy of them all – selling more than all others combined – in the UK anyway. Remember Bulmers? It’s created by them, and over one billion apples go into making it every year.
Based at the same farm, Herefordshire’s The Bounds, as it was in 1878, Westons has grown to produce 30 different ciders and perries, and now exports to more than 40 countries. Harvesting over 27,000 apples a year, Westons are big on telling the story of their business, and visitors can now go on a tour of the farm, factory and bottling room, before ending up at the tasting room. Tip: don’t drive. They’re pretty famous for their three 200-year-old oak vats named Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester, that give the oak-aged cider its flavour. A further five oak vats are named after Henry’s daughters – the rest are named after football clubs because his son’s felt left out. It’s the official cider of England Rugby, plus it sponsors Gloucester Rugby. They’ve just launched a totes trendy can called Caple Road, created by the youngest member of the Westons clan.
A brewery based on a working farm in the Peak District, pretty much all of Bradfield’s produce has Farmers in the title. Its seasonal drinks are equally as fun as most of the the brewery’s output – check out its Farmers Wim-Bull-Don being launched ready for the tennis at SW1.
One of the newest breweries in our list, Black Sheep Brewery was actually formed by a man from a family with a long history of brewing. Check out the website for the full, honest, story of how this black sheep came about because it’s really long and we probably can’t do it justice in a sentence. The Yorkshire business produces cask ales, bottled beers and some specialities. Like the Imperial Russian Stout – sent across the North and Arctic Seas to take part in a Russian competition.
Ah the brown ale synonymous with Geordie-land. We couldn’t do a map without including the infamous ‘Newcy Brown’ – it’s even made a massive name for itself over the pond. To be honest, you’re probably most likely to link Newcy Brown with old men in the heavy steel industry – niche – but according to Americans it's quite hipster. It got so popular there that Heineken – the brand’s current owner – had to change the recipe, dumping the old caramel flavouring and replacing it with malt. If you see it on draught in a pub – get one. Apparently it’s a slightly different flavour because the ale is traditionally only bottled, with only a few places having it on tap.
Harper Adams students, look away now. We know you’ve both got history. Whoever thought it was a good idea to get students to create their own beer? These guys. Run by students at the Royal Agricultural University, Muddy Wellies gives the team the opportunity to build a real business and learn new skills along the way. It produces a variety of ales, and a cider, and the revenue they generate through selling their product goes back into the student body, funding future projects by students.
On Fridays, the Thatchers team gather by one of the giant vats and try out the latest cider batches. Dream job alerts! It takes it right back to the time where workers were paid in cider, and as the day went on the work got slightly worse – wonder why? Its website also taught us that youngsters in the 1400s were baptised by cider – much cleaner than the water apparently! They’re pretty innovative too – Thatchers were the first farm to grow their trees in hedgerows, trained on wires. Apparently it makes harvesting much easier – condering over 25,000 tonnes of fruit are pressed on farm each year, you’d hope so.
Another one that likes to call their drink cyder. Cider, jam, strawberry wine – and the European Whiskey of the Year are made at Healey’s. But the company’s owners are also related to the inventor of the Austin Healey car. They have a mighty impressive collection of classic cars that is sure to bring out your inner Steve McQueen – don’t drink and drive. Launched in 1986 after running an off-license, Healey founders Kay and David bought a run down small holding and built it up from scratch, planting orchards along the way. Fast forward a fair few years and they’d put the cider farm on the map, running loads of tours to give visitors an insight into their history.
Set up by young farmer Amy Turner, Brewstone operates out of the front yard of Tyriet Farm, which is still a working farm. The former dairy sheds have been converted into Amy’s workspace, and five months before opening newborn lambs and calves were being born there. Brewed using water from Pembrokeshire’s Preseli mountains, Bluestone actually has an Americana-biker inspiration flowing through its range of beers. Its launching its first ever beer festival this year, with music
We thought weâ€™d brought out the big guns in the last edition with our burger. Turns out we were wrong â€“ so very wrong. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Any excuse. Be prepared, people. Introducing the #studentfarmer fry up.
BEN WILLIAMS, REDBORNE FARM
MEGAN SPENCER, TIPTREE KETCHUP In all honesty, there was only one place that we wanted to have our condiments from, and that was Tiptree. James Bond loves them, so they’ve got to be good. He’s a big fan of the ‘Little Scarlet’ jam, which has been produced at Tiptree for over 100 years. We like to think Tiptree apprentice Megan has an amazing job – surrounded by jams, sauces and marmalade until her heart’s content. Megan’s worked at Tiptree for five years and loves their link to homegrown produce. She said: “Our products are made, where we can, with home-grown produce from the farm at Tiptree following family recipes from years gone by. If we can’t grow a product we buy them from a specialist grower.” The company dates back to 1885 – Queen Victoria was on the throne. Arthur Charles Wilkin joined with two friends to form the Britannia Fruit Preserving Company. He said that the jam should be free of sugar, colouring and preservatives. An Australian merchant loved it so much that he arranged to buy every last pot.
As far as we’re concerned, there are three staple things that go on a breakfast: sausages, bacon and eggs – everything that comes after that is classed as a chaser. Bacon was in fact the first thing that sprung to mind when googling ‘what goes in to the perfect breakfast?’ – luckily for us, we knew a bloke that could do just the job. Ben Williams provided the most amazing bacon for our #studentfarmer burger What’s the saying? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s not clicking who Ben is – he’s the guy that trained to be a marine biologist, but ended up working with animals that don’t live in the water. He heads up a group that teach young children about agriculture at a school farm called Redborne Farm. They rear their own livestock and then from that, they have an on-site butchery and sell the produce locally. Including their pigs, the farm also has a flock of breeding ewes, and sell lamb direct to the customer. “We only use whole cuts for sausages as everything we can make everything else into a valuable by-product from lard to scratchings – the only thing left at the end is the oink.” He’s big on good quality products, with minimal waste. However he is selfadmittedly picky when it comes to bacon: “For me, a breakfast is all about delivery. The bacon has to be crispy, as anything less than that is an absolute crime.”
HANNAH BARTON, FARMMADE SAUSAGES What’s a breakfast without sausages? Rubbish, that’s what. They’re a definite staple of a fry-up – don’t skimp out on these. If you want to skimp, lose the hash brown. Not. The. Sausages. Cheshire YFC chairlady Hannah Barton knows her stuff – she’s from a farming and butchering background, and currently helps out on her parent’s farm. But that’s not good enough for business-savvy Hannah – she’s set up her own butchery business using stock from the farm called FarmMade. In between setting up her business (watch this space, Lord Sugar), Hannah spends a lot of her time doing things for the YFC, and she’s been a member for 11 years. She said: “I love getting involved in everything from stock judging to entertainment and of course socialising with likeminded, positive and enthusiastic young people in the industry. Together we have a strong future.” And if the YFC has taught Hannah anything, it’s that there’s nothing like a full English breakfast the morning after the night before. But lose the mushrooms. She apologises to all mushroom lovers out there, but won’t budge on the fact they’re not welcome on the plate. Sorry Hannah. Everything that Hannah produces is locally sourced from her farm or nearby farms within Cheshire, meaning the animals have minimum travel time to be slaughter, going on to be quality carcasses. And the recipe for the sausages has been passed down for over 100 years. Delicious.
JOSH LLEWELLYN, TREGOTHNAN TEA Alright, so it might be a contentious issue as tea isn’t technically in a fry up – but let’s be real, who’s going to have a breakfast without one? Someone who should take a long, hard look at themselves, that’s who. It’s no surprise that tea isn’t grown in abundance in our great isles – but using tea from Sri Lanka, India, Kenya or China really wasn’t going to make our breakfast British, was it? But Google proved us wrong, so very wrong. Down in Truro, Cornwall, there is a magical place called Tregothnan, which is an estate and garden, and yes, it produces tea. It’s not just any tea – it’s the only tea grown and produced in the UK. The estate first sold its classic tea in 2005, giving the quintessentially British drink a place on home soil. We’re super jealous of Josh Llewellyn, who works on the estate in Cornwall. He’s currently undertaking an apprenticeship, and insists a good cup of Tregothnan tea is just what you need. Josh said: “As I’m a horticultural apprentice working in the gardens I burn a lot of energy off during the day. But that means I have to have a good brew with my breakfast.” As well as working with the tea plants on the plantation, Josh works with a whole-host of plants grown on the Tregothnan estate. They were the first garden to plant Camellias – posh name Camellia sinensis – 200 years ago, which is the basis of the estate’s tea. The perfect brew? Friendships have been lost over less. Luckily for us Josh has the answer: “A strong brew is best. Make sure you boil the water all the way, brew the tea bag without milk or sugar for five minutes, and once brewed add a splash of milk, stir well and enjoy.” Tip noted, thanks Josh.
CATH BENNETT, UPPER HALL FARM EGGS
Sunny side up? Hard yolk? Soft yolk? Scrambled? Eggs are an absolute minefield. With so many ways to have them, it’s no surprise it’s divisive subject. We’re a big fan of scrambled, just for the record. Chef Dan told us to keep it simple – that’s just a normal fried egg, right? Correct, sunny side up, to be exact. But who exactly could provide is with some of the best eggs in town? Cue Cath Bennett. If you didn’t already know, the NFU hosts a huge range of industry programmes across a wealth of sectors for the next generation of farmers. Cath, from Powys, Wales, was just one of the young farmers taking part in the Poultry Industry Programme last year. Her family farm is home to 64,000 free-range layers, alongside a dairy herd and pedigree sheep. She’s a big advocate for her product, too. She said: “Eggs and bacon are a must on a breakfast. Not only is an egg extremely versatile, it’s also packed with lots of nutritional benefits and tastes great.” Cath’s also on a mission to prove that farming isn’t a man’s world anymore, and we think she’s doing a pretty good job. But then she told us she doesn’t like the white of an egg. She said: “My family and I don’t like the white of an egg. At home, we have been known to have races of who can strip the white off a poached egg first.”
GOAT WITH THE FLOW How do you turn two pet goats into a herd of 100, we hear you ask? Our #studentfarmer resident goat experts tell us their story.
very man and his dog has seen the countless viral videos of goats screaming. It’s hours of endless entertainment. They’re quite unique animals. It’s a well-known fact Taylor Swift vastly improves with the inclusion of a goat. But how do 14, day-old goats in the boot of your car sound? Probably extremely loud, and seriously concerning if you weren’t expecting to leave with any more than two. The appropriately named Happy Goat Company is the brain-child of Aimee Parry and Tom Mitchell and they have now grown their herd from 14 to 100 goats. They’re producing and selling their goat meat, hoping that the world’s most-consumed meat will become a hit here in Britain. Graduates of Hartpury College, the 23-year-olds began their conquest with just two pets after Aimee fell in love with the animals after doing some milking at a commercial goat dairy. “While I was at Hartpury I was just doing odd jobs here and there and I emailed a place if they had any weekend work. They didn’t, but they had a goat dairy and they were looking for help on that,” she said. “I thought ‘Why not? I’ve never done it before so I’ll give it a go’. So I started doing two milkings a week. They just got under my skin really with their personalities, so in the end we got two pets.” And that was that. Goats were on the brain and the Happy Goat Company was already well on its way to being created without either of them really realising it. “From there we thought about what we could do with our goats. We needed to do something and make them earn their keep a little bit. So I went back to where I used to work,” she added. “We went to the farmer for two or three animals and they kept saying: ‘Have a couple more, have a couple more’. We said
we’ll stop at five, and then it got to six and we ended up at 14.” At the end of the trip, they ended up with a car boot full of kids. And not the human kind. With no goat-rearing experience, it was no surprise to the pair that it was going to be tough, but there was one particularly hard aspect. When you hear that they were bottle-feeding four times a day you might think that Aimee and Tom had 14 children of their own but no, that was all for the goats. Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? After plenty of sleepless nights they agreed and knocked those 1am, 7am, 1pm and 7pm feeds on the head. They weren’t kidding around. But there was a point to all of it: rearing goats for meat. It’s one of the most widely-consumed meats in the world, but us lot over her in the west have never caught on to it. So, what’s the best way to convince people to start eating goat? Cook it up and offer it for free. Us British love a freebie. Aimee makes a killer apricot and almond
goat tagine that goes down a storm at the Herefordshire farmer’s markets. “Our farmer’s markets go down a storm because none of our other competitors take part in them. We’re the only goat people that do it so I wanted to get our foot in the door. The markets seem to be the way it’s going,” Aimee said. What’s most impressive about the business? They haven’t borrowed a single penny. “We never borrowed any money at the start. That was one of our goals: never to borrow any money,” Tom explained. “That’s why we started small. That’s why we are so proud of it.” And according to Aimee, the goats are absolute wimps as well. The barns are open for them to come back inside most of the year, and they’ll take full advantage. A slight wisp of wind or drop of rain and they’ll be straight back inside. “They’re terrible. They’re not waterproof. They’re not windproof. They’re just wimps, they really are,” she said. They may be wimps but Tom shares the love for the goats as well.
"Just know what you want to do and set it out clearly. Set yourself some goals. Say in four years’ time I want X,Y and Z and then set your way of achieving it"
“They’re really nice animals to work with. They’re not hard work, like sheep can be hard work. They’re easy-going animals you know. They’re reasonably highmaintenance but once you’ve got it going well and all set up it’s okay,” he explained. Goat is extremely lean and the leanest red meat on the market, according to the couple. Not only is it lean but it also has a very similar fat content to chicken. The market for the meat has a different make-up than more traditional meats. Tom estimates that a quarter of their customers buy goat based on the nutritional benefits. He also estimates that over half their customers buy goat because they’ve never tried it before. “It’s amazing that people just pick it up because they can’t get it from anyone else so they just come to you. To me, that’s crazy. They come for two or three packs
of sausages and they come all that way,” Aimee explained. It’s no surprise when they’ve won awards in sausage, butchering and burger categories, beating pork, beef and lamb burgers. 100 goats later, Aimee and Tom probably didn’t think their boot full of 14 goats would turn into this but now they can share their wisdom. “Just know what you want to do and set it out clearly. Set yourself some goals. Say in four years’ time I want X, Y and Z and then set your way of achieving it. Don’t be scared. If you want to go into an industry, try and get a job based in that sector. Even if you do it for four or five months you’ll pick up a lot more experience,” Tom said. Oh, and the most important bit of advice from Aimee: “The secret weapon of the goat world: Rich Tea biscuits.” You heard it here first. At least they’re known for something, besides being rubbish as a dunker with a brew.
Want to know more about the Happy Goat Company? Visit their website: www.thehappygoatcompany.co.uk. You can also hit up their social media accounts on Facebook: The Happy Goat Company or on Twitter by following @TheHappyGoats.
‘AVE A BUTCHERS 22-year-old Adam Oram has landed himself a job butchering Wagyu, and is on a one-man misSion to prove that butchery isn’t about being like Fred ElLiot from Coronation Street HAT STARTED AS A SATURDAY JOB, HAS TURNED INTO MY CAREER. At the age of 14 I was a Saturday lad and before I knew it I was doing all I could to learn about butchery. I left school with my GCSEs and my NVQ and went straight into it full-time from 16, and worked towards my apprenticeship. I’ve got a lot of qualifications, including NVQs in butchery, poultry processing, food safety level two and three, and other food safety qualifications.
WE’RE NOT ALL FRED FROM CORONATION STREET. A lot of people think that butchery is an old man’s job, but there are a lot more young people coming into it, because it is actually quite a manual job. You need to have the get-upand-go about you. People like to see a fresh face behind the counter and I think customers are turning to butchers more because they want traceability – they want to know more about where their food comes from. The perception about being an old man that says 'I say' a lot is there, but personally I don’t think that’s the case. I’M TAKING PART IN A COOKING SHOW ON THE TELLY. I’ve been selected for a cookery show on Channel 4 called My Kitchen Rules UK, and filming starts in April, so I can’t wait to see how that pans out. There are going to be challenges and it is going to be hard juggling a job, but I like challenge. Life’s all about goals. What I’d love to do is have my own restaurant eventually in years to come, where the kitchen has Perspex walls on so you can come in, choose your piece of meat, see me cutting it, cooking it and plating it up, so nothing is hidden. I MET HANNIBAL LECTER ONCE. Well that’s open to interpretation. I met this bloke when I was doing my apprenticeship that used to come in quite a bit. He said he always used to eat raw liver. We didn’t believe him so I got him a piece of raw ox liver and asked him if he’d eat it. He got me to pass it to him, and I am not joking, he wolfed the whole slice of ox liver down. It was disgusting.
WAGYU AS A BUTCHERING MEAT IS MISUNDERSTOOD – EVEN I DIDN’T GET IT AT FIRST. With your general beef cattle, you tend to just go for your topside or your silversides, but with Wagyu we are trying to move towards dry-aging it, taking thin slices off the top and sending these to restaurants. We are supplying biltong – a type of jerky. Normally you’d only fry your hind quarter as well because normally when you go to a butcher you ask for a steak, but because Wagyu has such a low melting point with the lovely grains of fat running through it, you can even fry the fourth quarter and it's absolutely amazing. WAGYU OPENS YOUR MIND. Before working with the meat I was set in my ways. The first time I saw Wagyu, what came to my mind was that it was too fatty, as most people do when they first see it. But I’ve come into this job open-minded, studied the product myself and I understand that the fat is actually a good thing. I was a bit of a know-it-all but I clearly don’t. IT’S A SKILLED JOB. Someone in a farm shop once asked me what the difference was between a supermarket assistant and a butcher, because all I was doing was cutting meat. It got me boiling so I told them just try it themselves because I guaranteed they couldn’t do it. It takes skill to be a butcher. You have to learn all the cuts, and learn how to follow the seams. You can’t just start cutting because that would ruin the animal. I’m a really keen cook and I have always taken stuff home to practice with so you can tell customers the cooking guidelines and what complements the piece of meat that they are buying.
PURE IMAGINATION Willy Wonka might be a figment of our imagination, but we think we've found someone who'll give him a run for his money. Emily Scaife finds out more.
f you’d asked me what I thought the NomNom chocolate factory would look like before I got there, I would have guessed that it would be full of big silver vats and people wearing hairnets. I probably wouldn’t have said that I’d be greeted by the sound of ‘It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (But I Like It)' blaring from the speakers. NomNom is a modern-day Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story – but with a dash of anarchy and a drop of rebellion. Liam Burgess, the brains behind the brand, is only 22 but in his short time on the planet he’s already set up another chocolate business (that he ran under his stairs at the age of seven), been fired from a couple of jobs, been head chef in a restaurant at the age of 16, and become a recognised and respected entrepreneur. Charlie Bucket, step aside – it’s someone
else’s turn in the factory. But where does farming come into this? The building we’re stood in, for a start. When he was growing up in the Welsh village of Llanboidy in Carmarthenshire, Liam lived just down the road from Farmer Phil, who he would help out in return for chocolate biscuits. The area is seeped in farming history – the dairy industry has left an imprint on the countryside, despite the fact that most of it has moved on. “What I’m trying to do here, in the middle of nowhere, is create a company that’s capable of providing a reason for all the young people to stick around; the sons and daughters of farmers whose milk industry has collapsed,” Liam explained. “I wanted to create a company full of young people, run by young people, that is creative, making great, quality products in the middle of nowhere, on a farm. And I want to replicate this model on other farms.”
Fighting talk indeed. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that NomNom is about so much more than chocolate. But the chocolate is a pretty good place to start. “For some of my childhood I grew up next to the Cadbury factory in Bournville,” Liam said. “My grandad used to take me to the Cadbury staff shop – he’d give me £50 when I was seven-years-old to buy stock for my shop, which I ran from my ‘chocolate factory’ under the stairs at home. Mum used to take me round all her friends’ offices and people would buy from me because I charged 30p for a Dairy Milk when they were 35p in a shop.” School wasn’t really his bag so he ended up working in restaurant kitchens. But not just any kitchens – he worked alongside French restaurant owner and chef Ludovic Dieumegard, before leaving to be head chef at a local gastropub when he was just 16.
During his time in restaurant kitchens, Liam learned a lot about the amazing produce being grown in his local area. “We are surrounded by amazing producers here – the honey man, Wendy up the road who makes marmalade on her farm, and many more,” he said. But Liam didn't want to work for other people. He took a year off to be a teenager and realised that there weren’t any opportunities for young people in the area, unless he did something himself. “I told myself I was going to set up a chocolate factory and change the world, using all this amazing produce.” He taught himself how to make chocolate from inside a caravan and secured £3,000 from this story’s Willy Wonka: Prince Charles.
Or, more accurately, The Prince’s Trust. The rest is history: today NomNom has taken over Farmer Phil’s abandoned cowshed and from it they produce 1,000 bars a day. What started in a caravan is now a brilliantly successful business that helps support local producers and employs creative and talented young people. And those local producers and brilliant young people make chocolate that is incredibly popular and delicious. “We wanted to produce chocolate bars because they’re nostalgic," Liam explained. The flavours change from month-tomonth depending on what is in season: “When there is rhubarb, we make a rhubarb chocolate bar,” Liam said. “When Ros has got her raspberries (you couldn't make it up) we make vodka and raspberry bars, and when blueberries are in season we use those. “It makes it exciting. For instance, Wendy Brandon up the road (who makes our marmalade) has a wild plum tree, so once a year we buy all her plums. There aren’t many, so we can only make about 1,000 bars of it.” But this tactic works brilliantly – last year’s plum chocolate crop sold out practically immediately. Hopefully the constant, terribly unsubtle references to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will have given you a few hints about what Liam has
in store for the future. “The book captured so many peoples’ imagination but it’s not real. Why?” said Liam. Why indeed. Well, the dream may not be resigned to the pages of Roald Dahl’s book for much longer. Farmer Phil’s old cow barn happens to be pretty close to the former site of Pemberton’s Chocolate Farm. “It was the only chocolate factory on a farm in Britain, but it has been empty since it was abandoned three years ago,” Liam said. “We will take over the site later this year.” And this is where Liam’s imagination really comes into play. He aims to build a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chocolate river. Yes, Dahl fans, you read that right. Feel free to take a break if you need to squeal and sing ‘I’ve got a golden ticket’ at the top of your lungs. But that’s not all. Liam is keen to move into making smaller bars of chocolate, as well as the bigger bars they currently produce in Farmer Phil’s cowshed. “The biggest innovation in chocolate was around 60 years ago, and nothing has really changed since then,” he explained. “I’ve always wanted to make individual chocolate bars, but I will reinvent them.” But don’t worry, NomNom have no plans to leave their farming roots and Farmer Phil behind. They’ll continue making their current bars at the existing site. It just wouldn't taste the same or be as wonky if it wasn’t made on the nowinfamously uneven cowshed floor.
FARMING ON THE SILVER SCREEN When you’re asked to list films with a farming link and only one that
comes to your head is a 2016 epic, you know you’re in for the long haul. Come on you budding Spielbergs – count down our top films with a farming link with us. They’re out of this world.
THE MARTIAN In short, it’s about a bloke who gets left behind on Mars but actually much more than that (we know, #yawn). At one point, Ridley Scott’s movie turns into one man’s challenge to grow food on a barren, cold and far-off planet. Matt Damon’s ingenious botanist character uses some audacious methods to grow potatoes on the Red Planet and even non-farmers will have (spoiler alert) felt for the guy when his spuds got destroyed. Good film. Weirdly realistic. Matt Damon gives farming a good go.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD It’s a novel from 1874 – don’t worry, we weren’t alive and kicking then either. It’s probably one that was in your great grandparent’s book collection, we know. But Thomas Hardy’s novel had a stellar remake in 2015 with the cast including Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and the guy with surname that nobody can pronounce. The film kicks off with a scene that many farmers would fear – an entire flock, belonging to a
p37_SF12_farming films.indd 2
new starter in farming, coming to their untimely deaths due to livestock worrying. Good movie with a solid female lead.
THE WIZARD OF OZ Dorothy was probably one of the very first famous on-screen farmers. Well, she technically only lived on a farm with her aunt and uncle (a bit like one of the characters later in the list). Still, let’s just gloss over that – she would probably have ended up helping out after her visit. Dorothy is also the only on-screen farmer/ farm hand we can think of that survived being plucked up by a cyclone, so respect is due.
SIGNS A good movie with a bit of a rubbish plot twist (sorry not sorry). Aliens land on earth and hide in the crops outside a house. But the weird thing? They can be defeated by water. Yes, water. If you’re not into the whole sci-fi thing you can get your farming kick out of the shots of corn fields that are in every other frame. Basically it’s an M. Night Shyamalan film. That says it all.
INTERSTELLAR Who run the world? Girls. And arable farmers apparently. Kind of. In this Chris Nolan futuristic film, the only thing our humble planet is able to grow is corn, and okra. Yes, okra. Blight really has caused a massive problem. Matthew McConaughey plays the former NASA pilot turned arable farmer, who leads plans to get the human population into space. And then we
haven’t a clue what really happens. Something to do with wormholes, singularity and a library, apparently.
BABE Does this pig need much introduction? Seriously? If you don’t like this movie about a farmer and his pig who wants to be a sheepdog, you have no heart. It was nominated for seven Oscars. This also includes Babe 2, Babe 3, Babe 4 (we’ve lost track, but there are probably more).
STAR WARS Ok – let’s be honest here, there was never really any doubt about this. Before he became a Jedi, Luke Skywalker was a farmboy with his aunt and uncle Beru and Lars, more concerned with day-to-day gripes like finding power converters at Tosche Station. Anyway, it’s not long before his father’s legacy catches up with him and Luke’s exciting and dark journey begins – a world away from his farming roots. As Han Solo tells him: “Travelling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy."
YFC CONVENTION SURVIVAL GUIDE
Don’t be the person that goes unprepared to the YFC AnNual Convention. You do not want to be that person. ThankfulLy, with us on hand, you won’t. Abide by this list and you’lL be fine. REMEMBER TO TAKE THE FARMER’S FRIEND – BALING TWINE An absolute lifesaver when you’re A* costume starts falling apart and you think it’s game over. And with the company you’re in, nobody will judge you for your improvisation. Instagram it.
PREPARE FOR THE LAST NIGHT SHIRT SWAP WITH EXTRA CLOTHES The last night = chaos. Ladies, listen up. Take a second top because you’ll need it for all the shirt swapping. Bonus points if you manage to get the shirt that’s the furthest club away from you.
YOU WILL GO TO THE BALL The first night is black tie – not purple, velour or tartan. Black. Tie. You’ll inevitably spot someone with sheep plastered over their tie, or even cow print. These people are the stuff of legends.
GET LYRICAL Listen to The Wurzels on repeat if you’re one of those people that
haven’t got a clue what they’re saying. We can guarantee the stereotypical Combine Harvester will be played more than five times. The farming anthem.
SING ABOUT PORK AND CIDER
GET CREATIVE Don’t go to Blackpool with a boring red club shirt – so 2014. You’ll almost inevitably see the same farm slogan over and over again, so think outside the box.
Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark is in attendance, so he’s bound to play his rendition of Avicii’s 'Waiting for Love'. Learn the words and belt it out at the top of your lungs while all your friends look on with jealousy.
EMBRACE BLACKPOOL IN ALL HER GLORY
RAISE SOME MONEY
ONE WORD: BREAKFAST
Driving up on your lonesome to AGM? Scrap that. Do something different this year: cycle, run or parachute in (well, we wouldn’t recommend the latter). Whatever you do, raise money along the way for a good cause.
Don’t skip the most important meal of the day – you’ll need it, and we’re guessing you know why.
DON’T WEAR THE ONESIE There are photos taken at the convention, and it’ll haunt you for the rest of your life. Resist the urge like a trooper. You'll thank us.
What’s a trip to Blackpool without a selfie with the tower? Fish and chips on the harbour or sticking your head through one of those dodgy tourist photo boards. Make some memories.
ATTEND A DEBATE It’s easy to forget that some pretty cool stuff happens at the convention. On Saturday make sure you visit a discussion – it’s your chance to share your views about the future of farming. You’re a loud bunch – get your opinion out there.
FARMING FURTHER AFIELD We know we’ve got some adventurers out there. Ever fancied farming in a foreign country? Ed Wormington talks to Sam EtTe about taking part in the 2,000 mile harvest in the USA. WE STARTED OFF BY APPLYING THROUGH OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. Then after that you're essentially their intern. You give the university a list of companies you’re interested in with a second and third priority order. They send that off and then the boss will have a look at your CV and if he likes you he’ll give you an interview and then they send you off to the company. It's pretty straightforward. I WORKED FOR JIM DEIBERT HARVESTING THROUGHOUT. He was based in Colby, North Kansas. You spend the first six weeks on base in the workshops getting all the kit ready and everything in the trucks and getting all the combines ready to go. IN THE FIRST WEEK OF MAY WE DROVE ALL THE KIT DOWN TO VERNON, NORTH TEXAS. The next stop was then Custer City, Oklahoma and we were there for a couple of weeks. After that, we were in Guymon, Oklahoma and then went back to Colby. Then we moved up into Wall, South Dakota and then another stop in Bison, South Dakota and then we finished up in Scranton, North Dakota. IT’S ABSOLUTELY BOILING HOT. We hit around 40 degrees celsius in Texas, and Kansas was very hot. By the time we
got to South and North Dakota it was getting to the end of July so it started to get a bit cooler and up there it’s a lot more humid. In both South and North Dakota we had to stop combining around 9.30pm just because the humidity comes in and the crop becomes too tough. In Texas it’s still that dry heat and you can go into the night. MOST PEOPLE COME FROM OUTSIDE THE USA – WE HAD PROBABLY SEVEN OR EIGHT FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. My crew was mostly from the UK. We had three from England, two from Wales, two from Ireland, one from Zimbabwe and one from Zambia. I know a lot of the other crews have Australians and New Zealanders. Workers come from all over the world to experience the run. YOU HAVE DAYS WHEN YOU THINK “WHY HAVE I SIGNED UP TO THIS?” If it hasn’t rained for a long time and you’ve got to pack all the kit up and move again it can be hard work, but I did enjoy going through different states. I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if I just stayed in Kansas. I enjoyed seeing different states as they have different ways of life, and all farm differently. It was a great way to see the centre of America.
THERE’S A SHED LOAD OF BANTER. To me it was great working in a big team with people your age where you can have great banter with the lads. In England you have one combine and you have to take the header off when you move fields. Whereas over there we worked for three weeks where we didn’t have to take it the headers off because we could just drive down the road with it on. SEEING FARMING IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY WAS AMAZING. Their catchphrase is ‘We harvest the wheat that feeds the world’ and for me just being part of that for a season I know I’ve helped harvest the wheat that helps feed a lot of the world.
Be the person your dog thinks you are