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Young farmer focus: Rosie Blackmore - "I just want to do the simple things well and enjoy my work"

Rosie Blackmore, 28, farms 40,000 free-range laying hens with her parents. She grades and delivers eggs under the family’s own brand, Low Farm Eggs, and supplies Bowler Eggs. She also contracts real veal calves for Waitrose and has a small suckler herd of pedigree Herefords.

Rosie Blackmore, 28, farms 40,000 free-range laying hens with her parents. She grades and delivers eggs under the family’s own brand, Low Farm Eggs, and supplies Bowler Eggs. She also contracts real veal calves for Waitrose and has a small suckler herd of pedigree Herefords.

 

Background: Despite growing up helping my dad rear turkeys throughout the summer holidays – and skiving school to pluck them in December – I had never been involved with Young Farmers and had not even heard of Harper Adams when I went off to Nottingham Trent University to study psychology.

 

It was not until a neighbour asked for a hand during lambing that something clicked. I was in my element, outdoors in the rain, elbow deep.

 

The years that followed were spent travelling around working on farms, and in 2015 when I returned from mustering sheep and milking cows in New Zealand, my dad offered me a job.

 

I lacked the confidence to make an influence and make the transition from farm labourer into more of a managerial role, so I applied to the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation which completely opened my eyes to how broad the spectrum of agriculture is.

 

Tesco: It introduced me to an awesome bunch of people all over Britain who were at a similar point in their career and provided advice on anything from navigating succession to staff management.

 

I threw myself in head first, attending as many workshops and visits as I could and learning all that I could from peers. What I found most surprising was having my eyes opened to a plethora of careers in agriculture that do not involve sitting on a tractor all day. There was also very little tweed being worn, which was reassuring.

 

I’d return from each workshop and farm visit and tell my dad about what I had seen and what others were doing.

 

Adventure: As a small family farm, my role varies significantly depending on the time of year, day of the week, or hour of the day.

 

It provides a good combination of practical farming, flock management and calving, and uses my brain for analysing flock performance and marketing our brand. Our private egg round provides some protection against the volatility of egg price set by the major packers, and taps into the desire for local produce from our customers.

 

I have had the freedom to implement new ideas and incorporate my desire to fly the farming flag by selling at farmers’ markets and getting involved with Open Farm Sunday.

 

Overall I have no intention of creating an empire. I just want to do the simple things well – look after our employees, run a profitable business while enjoying my work, and maintaining some kind of work-life balance. If I can squeeze in some triathlon training and some kind of social life between floor walks, that would be a bonus.

 


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