Today is #farm24, an event organised by Farmers Guardian, sponsored by Morrisons. Over the next 24 hours farmers and supporting industries will be celebrating this essential industry on social media platforms, giving the public an insight into all that we do.
As someone who’s worked in the sector for about 15 years, it seemed a good time to share a little about my day and how I got to be a proud member of the farming family.
My eyes were opened to the world of agriculture by my aunt. She’d a small holding at the edge of the Pennines in Staffordshire. As a small child my dad and I would visit her.
I fell in love. In love with the animals, the fresh air, the freedom and the space.
As I grew up I was allowed to stay for the holidays, provided I mucked in with the jobs that needed to be done. So I earned my keep, feeding and mucking out the chickens and sheep, collecting the eggs and bottle feeding lambs. I rode and helped look after the ponies too.
At school I enjoyed biology and chemistry; it came naturally to me. I was fascinated by nature. At A-level I discovered psychology and business and it was these subjects I studied at Uni… I knew I wanted to work in agriculture but didn’t know how I could make that happen so I kept my options open.
I still loved farm life though. I found my first work placement at the Royal Agricultural Society of England. At the end of those 6 weeks, I returned to work at the Royal Show. It was my idea of heaven – immersed in the world of agriculture I got to meet farmers, and join them in what was England’s biggest celebration of the year.
I returned every summer throughout Uni to help the event and after 3 years I was offered a permanent role as PA to the Show Director.
As I learnt more I became increasingly interested in how agriculture influences our environment. That’s when I did my MSc in Sustainable Agriculture at the RAC.
Finishing the masters, I found the role as a technical writer for a specialist agricultural communications agency. It blended my business, psychology and farming interests perfectly.
Over the years that followed I learnt more, eventually becoming an account director.
Today I still do that job but I’m freelance. This gives me the flexibility to work with some of the industry’s most forward-thinking, innovative organisations. It also enables me to set aside time to look after my horse, Abbey, and dog, Betty.
While I’d love to share a ‘typical day’, every day is different. I’ll often be speaking with farmers and scientists, writing articles, recording and editing videos, crafting social media posts and organising events. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can grab farmers attention and hold it long enough to share an idea or an innovation that may help them be more productive or profitable, and usually, more sustainable.
Contrary to some stereotypes, throughout my career I’ve been warmly welcomed by the industry – all they asked for was an open mind and a passion to learn.
Passion is the one word that describes this industry. Farmers have an unrivaled passion for their work. It’s not just their job but their whole life and the farm is their family home.
I’m proud to work in this sector. I’m proud of our farming industry that continues to produce essential food for our table while meeting (normally, exceeding) some of the world’s highest welfare and environmental standards.
The coronavirus has shown us how important our farmers are. And with Brexit on the horizon, we’re facing an unknown future. The threat of imported cheap food that costs less because it’s not been produced to the same welfare and environmental standards as British food is very real.
So there’s no better time to support our farmers: