James is a new entrant, living and working just outside Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway. He left an office job in 2014 to pursue a farming career and shares his farming journey at www.solwayshepherd.com.
Lambing: My days are greatly dominated by lambing preparation at the moment. These seemingly never ending storms have done their best to get in the way of things, but the sheep have taken everything in their stride so far.
We were able to take advantage of a break in the weather this week to bring in the later lambers for a dose against fluke and worms, so they are now all good to go. Attention is now turning towards the lambing shed.
We bought sheep in lamb last year, so this is the first year I have been involved in the whole process from tupping right through to lambing.
Lleyns: Alongside the farm’s commercial flock, I run my own flock of pedigree Lleyn sheep. The maternal traits, high stocking rates and docile nature of the breed were the real attractions, but being a Welshman with a Welsh sheepdog, the opportunity to increase the Welsh population on this small farm on the Dumfries and Galloway coast played its part too.
There will be a wee Welsh colony here by the time I am done. I am now eagerly awaiting the end of February and the arrival of the first lambs of my Solway Lleyn flock.
Future Farmer Foundation: Much of the week was spent in Sheffield on the third Future Farmer Foundation workshop. This week we were treated to a look at succession planning. Not an enjoyable topic, and one that can cause a whole host of problems, but we definitely can not afford to ignore it. As always, we come away with plenty to think about.
Solway Shepherd: January 2016 not only marked the first anniversary of becoming a shepherd, but also the beginning of my blog. I’m very passionate that education has a vital role in improving farmers relationship with the public.
There is a real disconnect between farming and the consumer and I do not feel we can expect people to choose to support British farmers and produce, when there are people out there who do not understand where their food comes from, let alone the work that goes in to getting the food on to their supermarket shelves.
The blog has led to regular contributions in a number of farming publications and an article on the BBC, and I hope this platform can help give an insight in to the work that goes in to farming and the production of food that is now so often taken for granted.