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LAMMA 2019

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Young Farmer Focus: Lorna Sidebottom, 23 - 'Being a female farmer I'm often undermined by the lack of strength I have'

Lorna Sidebottom, 23, is a part-time worker on the 607-hectare (1,500-acres) family farm which runs dairy, beef, sheep and pigs. She is also a part-time midwife at Macclesfield Hospital.

Family: I have grown up on my family farm with my big brother, Jack, and little sister, Frankie.

As soon as I could walk I would accompany my dad in the lambing shed and take every opportunity to get my hands dirty. I used to take a bucket into the parlour to stand on so I could milk the cows.

At the age of 10, I phoned my grandad because I desperately needed my own sheepdog to gather my few Jacob ewes. I later went on to compete with Gwen, winning trials across the North West.

My family has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and I graduated from the University of Chester as a midwife and have been working at Macclesfield Hospital for two years.

Shortly after graduating, I realised my true passion remained in the sheep at home, and from an early age I experimented with breeds including Beltex, Texel, Charollais and Suffolk.

Conference: I was lucky enough to be able to attend NFU conference earlier this year and one thing which stood out to me was the benefits of diversification.

We are planning to open a farm shop selling our own produce, which I plan to have an active role in.

I currently lamb over March and April, the majority of which are mules in lamb to Texel. I also lamb some Scottish Black Faced ewes on some higher ground where my dad grew up. I bring most of the lambs back to the home farm where they are finished on slats.

We have recently installed automated feed systems which work on sensors. This has reduced the amount of physical work for myself and has taken the pressure off while lambing.

My brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Ella, have invested in a marquee business and we have started to host weddings and other events on the farm. We recently hosted a Glitter Ball, where 300 young farmers attended and helped raise a huge amount of money for charities close to our hearts.

Young people: I have been an active member of Cheshire Young Farmers for eight years and was Cheshire Dairy Queen in 2014.

I am also part of the Cheshire Young Farmers’ debate team. We are given an agricultural and non-agricultural topic each week to research, before a panel of three judges watch our speeches and open debate.

Being a female farmer I am often undermined by the lack of strength I have, but farming is more about brains than brawn. My enthusiasm and passion overrides my lack of muscle and I would always encourage girls to get stuck in.


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