Gemma Gold worked in an office until she realised she belonged in the dairy sector. After relentlessly pursuing her dream, she now works full time in the farming industry.
Growing up in Gloucestershire I was certainly no stranger to farming, but having no family or close friends in agriculture, it was never something that was even considered.
After leaving school I fell into business administration, working my way up the ranks to become a manager for an x-ray equipment firm.
Working a nine to five job, five days a week was a slog and I couldn’t shake this niggle in the back of my mind that there had to be something more out there.
I seemed to get herded into office work and couldn’t see a way out.
It wasn’t until I met one of my best friends at the age of twenty-five who had her own flock of sheep that it really triggered my love for livestock. She was deeply involved in agriculture and I admired her and the work she did. She opened up opportunities for me and taught me a lot.
I knew then that this was an exciting industry. I wanted to be part of too, it was just a case of finding a sector that I enjoyed most.
A year ago, I attended a Farmers For Action protest in London.
The day was fantastic.
There were so many people pulling together and everyone was so friendly and passionate about their industry.
I knew I had to take the plunge and get out of that office somehow. On the coach back I started chatting to someone who lived only twenty minutes from me and worked on his family dairy farm. He invited me to try my hand at some milking.
My friends found this hilarious- to say I am not a morning person is an understatement. Needless to say getting up at five am that morning almost killed me.
I didn’t even know it was light that time of day. I rocked up at the farm half asleep, not sure what to expect and a little nervous.
The milkers were so friendly and welcoming, I instantly felt at ease.
It didn’t take me long to pick up the routine and I ended up having the most amazing morning.
After returning for a few more times just for fun, they offered me a relief milking job. I jumped at the chance and for the next year I milked every weekend, spending my weekdays behind my desk longing to be back with my new bovine friends.
I had caught the farming bug.
Dairy was where I wanted to be. My next challenge was to find a place full time. I went to three or four interviews, learning something new at each one, inspired by my prospective new managers.
Perhaps what surprised me most was how willing the industry was to teach me, even if they couldn’t employ me. Three months ago I joined a family run farm near Tewkesbury as full time herdsperson. With my hand on my heart I can say taking that leap is the best decision I have ever made.
Every day I learn something new, and I am so grateful for being welcomed into the industry with such open arms. It is so refreshing to see people with a real passion for what they do, instead of just working to pay the bills.