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Young Farmer Focus: Becky Dennis, Northlew, Devon

Becky Dennis, 18, works on the family farm alongside her dad, fattening 300 fat cattle and 300 sheep a year. She also keeps pedigree South Devons and enjoys showing them at local shows.

Becky Dennis, 18, works on the family farm alongside her dad, fattening 300 fat cattle and 300 sheep a year. She also keeps pedigree South Devons and enjoys showing them at local shows.

 

Passion: Calving is all finished now for my South Devon cattle, until next year. I began keeping pedigree South Devons a few years ago and I love the breed for its docility, size, and maternal and terminal traits.

 

I first showed with a commercial South Devon and was amazed by his temperament as I halter broke him in two weeks. I now have six cows and their six offspring, including four girls: Apricot, Annie, Sparkle, Vera, and two boys: Buster and Benji. I also have a home-bred heifer called Poppy who is 16 months old.

 

She was shown last year at a pedigree calf show and was reserve breed champion, a proud moment considering I had not been in the breed long.

 

TB: As a farm which is constantly buying cattle in markets and selling them direct to the abattoir, what really worries me as a young farmer is how the Government and Defra do not seem to be tackling the devastating issue of TB.

 

In the last few years, we have been in and out of TB. One minute we are free, the next we have restrictions placed on us. We have no control over our cashflow because Defra restricts us from buying until we go clear.

 

It also affected my showing as last year as I could not take part in any summer shows as we were down with TB. The problem does not seem to be getting better. In fact, TB is seemingly getting worse and needs to be eradicated before farmers get fed up with the devastation it causes.

 

Brexit: As a young person, I am positive about the future regarding farming and Brexit. I feel there are many opportunities which can come out of Brexit for British farming as we have some of the best welfare standards and meat in the world.

 

However we need the right deal from politicians regarding trade so markets will still want our meat. We also need to get rid of a lot of red tape which comes with the EU as even 15 years ago there was hardly any compared to now. YFC: In my spare time, I am an active member of Young Farmers and I enjoy all aspects of it.

 

I try to do all I can to improve my skills through Young Farmers and would encourage anyone to go and see what it is all about.


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