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Young farmer focus: Abigail Woodhouse - 'Agriculture was the right direction to follow'

Abigail Woodhouse, 20, is from Ravenglass, Cumbria, and works full-time on her family’s dairy farm with her parents and older brother.

Career

 

After completing my AS Levels, I decided agriculture was the right direction to follow, having been brought up on my family’s dairy farm and enjoyed working with stock.

 

I began studying L3 agriculture at Newton Rigg College in 2017, a two-year full-time course where I gained a lot of valuable skills and knowledge which benefited me in my agricultural career.

 

During my studies I also gained my ATV and telehandler tickets which are vital in maintaining safe use of these machines in the farming environment.

 

It was very disappointing to hear the news that Newton Rigg is set to close in 2021 as it was such a big part of my introduction into my career in agriculture and will be a huge loss to one of the largest farming counties in the country.

 

Work

 

I work full-time on my family dairy farm which is based in north-west Cumbria alongside my parents and older brother.

 

We farm 150 hectares (370 acres) alongside some rented land. Our stock includes 200 pedigree Holstein Friesians under the prefix ‘Bridgefield’.

 

Since both my brother and I are working on the farm, we have made the decision to increase the milking herd and upgrade our current milking parlour with a 24/48 swing-over which will be going in this summer.

 

My main interest on the farm is rearing youngstock and breeding.

 

I love working with the cows.


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Covid-19

 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, work has been non-stop.

 

You know you have spent too much time with the cows when you know them all face on, their names and family trees.

 

To occupy myself during the first lockdown, I created an Instagram page (@thebridgefieldherd) to document my farming days and have received so much positive feedback from other people in the industry, which was greatly received.

 

The agricultural industry is a an industry that I am definitely proud to be part of as I am sure any woman in agriculture is too.

 

It is a rewarding job that I have been very lucky to have and would not consider an office job anytime soon, although the paperwork side of the business is something I do actually enjoy which Dad appreciates.

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