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Young farmer focus: Hannah Davis on being a 'townie' in farming

Hannah Davis, 26, is a general farm worker on 202 ha (500 acres) milking 700 cattle, including 230 pedigree Holsteins and Jerseys and 130 finished beef cattle per year.

Hannah Davis, 26, is a general farm worker on 202 ha (500 acres) milking 700 cattle, including 230 pedigree Holsteins and Jerseys and 130 finished beef cattle per year.

 

Spring: As always, a busy time on the farm for all.

 

The dry spell over April was the kick-start for first cut grass silage and timely before groundwork preparation ahead of maize drilling.

 

And, of course, fitting it all around turning cattle out and a TB test- which went clear.

 

We soon felt summer upon us as second cut soon came around, with the third cut and baled just this week.

 

Fortunately contractors do the majority of the work and I get to avoid tractor work for ground prep as most of my time is spent with the livestock.

 

Adventure: I feel lucky to be a part of the industry.

 

It has only been five years since I milked my first cow and what a busy five years it has been.

 

My attendance at Cannington, Bridgwater College has helped me get to where I am today.

 

Being a townie with little agricultural experience and minimal confidence around large animals and machinery I have not done too badly so far.

 

A level two apprenticeship, alongside working full time on a farm, was just the starting point before progressing to the level four in agricultural management.

 

During this time I was put forward to the RABDF DeLacy UK Dairy Student award.

 

I then moved onto the foundation degree but attended for two days a week alongside my full time job.

 

It was a very challenging year to say the least, trying to juggle work with studying and I relied heavily on the support of my employers and fellow students.

 

But it lead to the nomination for the Farmers Club London Pinnacle awards, for excellence in business management, where I managed to take first place; an incredibly stressful yet rewarding experience which made all the hard work seem worth it.

 

Not to mention a realisation that all of the opponents of being a final year degree students – myself being only foundation – that getting a full degree does not have to be the trend or the ideology for getting a good job.

 

Challenge: The industry itself has a challenging time ahead if not in one already, with Brexit and trade deals being the main threat or saviour to UK agriculture? We cannot be so sure just yet.

 

But I think farmers need a chance to scrutinise all of the current policies concerning diseases, subsidies and restrictions to highlight their flaws and open opportunity to address the current problems within the industry – a chance we should all take.

 

With third cut out of the way it will not be long before the barley and wheat are combined, the maize gets foraged and, before you know it, cattle will be housed, we will be on the winter routine and it will all start over again.


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