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Young Farmer Focus: Gavin Hill - 'We could all quash some of the misconceptions'

Gavin Hill, 22, manages youngstock for the Halhead family at Norbreck Farm, Cockerham. He separately runs a flock of 70 commercial ewes and studies agriculture at Askham Bryan College.

Growing up: For as long as I can remember, I have been around cows and sheep on the family farm in Derbyshire and helping Dad milk in the parlour.

 

Spending my childhood around such committed and passionate individuals allowed me to learn a great number of skills and experience the level of resilience needed to make it in farming.

 

With both sides of my family being heavily involved in agriculture for many generations, it was clear to me this was the path I wanted to take.

 

After finishing school, I went on to Newton Rigg College to study agriculture while working on a local beef farm and milking on different farms.

 

After that, I went on to Askham Bryan, where I am now in the final year of a Level 4 agricultural business management apprenticeship.

 

Three years ago, I was lucky enough to secure a tenancy on a small block of ground and start my own sheep flock, and I have now built up to 70 commercial ewes.

 

Tupping time seems to have gone well this year, so I am hoping for plenty of lambs come spring.


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In the future I would like to continue to grow my flock, should more land become available, and start a beef herd to run alongside it.

 

I would also like to travel to learn more about different farming practices across the world, as I feel a lot can be learned from other farmers and the challenges they face.

 

Calves: In January I moved to Norbreck Farm and took on the rearing of youngstock. I have found this very rewarding, seeing calves thrive and working with the team, plus experimenting with different ideas to improve the health and growth of calves.

 

 

A newly built temperature-controlled calf unit is now complete and I am looking forward to getting calves moved in and hopefully seeing an increase in health with the improved airflow.

 

Future: I think in the uncertain times ahead surrounding Brexit and ever-changing beef and lamb markets, it is important for farmers, especially the younger generation, to grab every opportunity which presents itself with new trade agreements and the opening of new markets both home and abroad.

 

I also think it is important for farmers to be proud of what they do and the quality food they produce.

 

We should be educating the public on the world-class levels of welfare and hygiene we uphold and not be afraid to enlighten others on the hard work we do in an industry many know little about.

 

If every young farmer just shared a little piece of the work they do, whether that is through an Instagram video of their stock or a Facebook post about the food they are producing, we could all quash some of the misconceptions about farming and gain more public support for locally produced food.

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