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Young Farmer Focus: Fran Hadley - 'It's important to promote the industry's sustainability'

Francesca Hadley, 19, is studying agriculture with farm business management at Harper Adams University while working on the 283ha (700-acre) family beef and arable farm in Warwickshire.

Experience: Agriculture has always been of great interest to me, building my experience by being brought up on a family run beef and arable farm.

 

Last year I also started gaining experience with sheep, buying 120 Texel cross Lleyn ewes which lambed in April after the main spring calving period of our pedigree South Devon suckler herd.

 

Cattle, sheep and arable are my main interests, meaning there is something to do all year round.

 

During the summer, there is a mix between the cattle and arable, ranging from harvest to shows and sales.

 

After recently finishing my first year at university, I returned home to finish the grass harvest, catch up on sheep work and now prepare for the combinable harvest.

 

Showing: One event which was of particular interest to me this year was the Royal Welsh Show. After exhibiting at other shows this year, this is one which we had not exhibited at before.

 

The South Devons hold a national show every year which moves around the country and this year it was held at the Royal Welsh.


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The show had a fantastic line-up of South Devon cattle, a warm welcome and was very well organised.

 

There were also things to do for all ages with attractions in the main ring continuing through to late evening.

 

South Devon cattle are a sentimental breed to me as I am the third generation in the family involved with them.

 

They are renowned for being a calm and docile breed with good mothering ability and also the ability to be versatile under many management systems, including feeding and cross breeding.

 

Challenges: Within the agricultural industry there are many challenges, some being the growing trend in vegan and vegetarian lifestyles and political views on the use of pesticides and land management.

 

To help overcome these challenges, it is important to promote the industry’s sustainability.

 

However, due to campaigns for a reduction in the types of pesticides used, this makes it difficult for farmers to meet the growing demand yet still grow affordable food and farm sympathetically to the environment.

 

Similarly, being a young person in the industry also means facing these challenges with a fresh approach and planning a future.

 

Despite these challenges I see myself working within the industry in one form or another.

 

I hope to create a diversification project to complement our mixed farm, such as a commercial oilseed rape storage.

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