In our new online series, I quit my job to farm, we look at people and families from across the country who decided they would leave their current lives and give it all up to farm.
Scale of farm: 1400 breeding ewes, dairy, Beef, arable, just over 2500 acres
What did you do before you farmed? I worked in a petrol station for 14 years. It suited me at the time as a single parent with a young daughter – school times and out-of-school clubs fitted around the hours. It was fine for a while but I began to long to be back outdoors.
Did you have any farming experience? I did, yes. When I left school I went to agricultural college and worked for 6 years on a sheep farm. I studied for a NCA which is a National certificate in agriculture plus, I did an extra course on sheep. I then had my daughter and took the job at the petrol station.
When did you decide to quit? When I turned 40 one of my friends decided to go back to university and retrain. It made me re-evaluate my life. Around the same time, I was contacted by an old friend from the farming community who asked if I could help with lambing. I took a holiday for a fortnight from the petrol station and realised how much I missed farming. When I went back to work, I handed my notice in and a month later I was back on that very farm.
What was it about farming that you like? I love working outside – it gives you a sense of freedom. And it keeps you fit of course. Working with livestock is something I’ve always had a passion for livestock and being outdoors, you see the beauty of the changing seasons too.
What has been your biggest obstacle? My height. I’m only 4"10 and not as strong as the men I work with on the farm. I sometimes struggle with certain jobs but, if I can’t do it using my strength then I use my brain and find another way.
Did you have support around you in the transition? My daughter, who was a teenager at the time, was very supportive. She often cooked me meals when I was lambing or working long hours and helped around the house. People at the farm would try to help me however I’m a very determined and independent person, and working in a male dominated job I felt that I had to prove myself. Prove that I was capable of doing the work and didn’t want people to make allowances for my gender or size.
What do you love most now about your job? I love working outdoors and that when I go out into the fields, I can recognise a sheep that I’ve known from birth and know I helped it survived. I love the different characters you get with sheep. I love the fact that no two days are the same. I love seeing the crops change through each season.
Do you ever regret your decision? No! Since leaving the garage I have lost weight. I am probably the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been. Yes, there are hard days on the farm but the good days, by far, outweigh them.