Tom Bell, 19, was brought up in a farming family with grandparents Colin and Linda, working on a mixed farm. He currently works on a 850-cow dairy farm and is mainly involved in the machinery side of things.
Starting out: From a very young age I was always interested in agriculture, particularly tractors and cattle.
I would spend many hours ’carpet farming’ on my own small-scale set-up.
I spent most weekends helping my father, Richard, who manages a multi award-winning 300-cow suckler herd of Simmental cattle.
This led to my first job working alongside him, as well as assisting with the extensive arable acreage including harvesting potatoes and the running of an anaerobic digester.
To further my education and skills, I undertook two years at Walford Agricultural College, studying all aspects of modern agriculture both here in the UK and from a study tour of New Zealand.
Finishing college, I was given the opportunity to work for various people including a contractor and a large scale vegetable grower. This led to my current employment with Henry Lewis, Tack Farms, Bromyard.
Day-to-day: The past month has been a busy one on the farm.
We began with spreading muck on wholecrop stubbles with the aim of improving the next crop.
Following this, I subsoiled the stubbles with the intention of trying to get more moisture into the ground of some very hard clay soils.
This led to the ’big bale lug’. A total of 727 ’gold bricks’ were swiftly gathered in before the onset of much-needed rain.
While doing this task, the never-ending muck heap continued to grow and needed my attention at the same time.
The next task was the fourth cut of silage. The extreme weather conditions led to a very unsatisfactory yield but, as Henry said on our WhatsApp group, ’better than nothing, we will get another cut in five weeks or so’.
Stitching grass seed into existing leys in the hope of an improved fifth cut was the next job.
Having caught up with the workload, I turned my attention back to the muck heap with the intention of clearing the pile – however this has not yet been achieved.
Future: At the moment I am doing a job I enjoy, being in the agricultural industry.
I am keen to continue to broaden my knowledge and skills working within a team.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to work in the countryside in an industry that is subject to a mixed public opinion as well as volatile markets, mainly dictated by imports and the consumer.
I one day hope that farmers are given the acknowledgement they deserve, while continuing to produce high quality products.