New Addition to the Herd!

19:30

Well when I woke up this morning the last thing I expected to be doing was lifting a pygmy goat into the back of our Discovery and taking it home to the herd, but I guess that’s farming for you!

We went up to visit my Aunty this morning to visit her and have a trip up to the yard to see the horses and trim the goat's feet etc. Just general weekend tasks... We stopped at her house and she told us that her landlord had driven past our field the other day and noticed our two little pygmy goats. He had been in touch because he had had two nanny pygmies himself, but sadly one had passed away just the week before. With goats being herd animals and needing company he was looking to rehome the second one so she wouldn’t be alone anymore. He asked if we would like her to add to our herd and she of course said yes! The plan was to pick her up sometime in the next week after clearing out the horse box (which the goats currently go into at night time) however, we had a think and decided to give him a ring to ask if we could collect her today. He said that we could come over in an hour so we had a quick cup of tea (necessary!) and then popped down to the yard to put horse rug down in the back of the Land Rover and grab the goat lasso and head collar. When we were loaded up and had transformed the Discovery into a goat transporter – we just emptied the back and put a rug down – we headed off to pick up the new goat. We met her and spoke to the owner and then he helped us load her into the car. It was only literally down the road so she was in the car for less than 5 minutes but she did really well in the car. We unloaded her when we got back to the yard, introduced her to the boys over the fence and now she’s settled for the night separately from the boys until the morning where they will hopefully meet each other closer up and will start to make friends.
She is a 5-year-old nanny pygmy goat and she is just about the same size as the boys if a little bit bigger. We have called her Beattie (short for Beatrice) as we are sticking with the royal naming theme – we now have Will, Harry and Beattie after Princess Beatrice! She seems to have a lovely little temperament and I hope that she is going to be very happy and spoilt in her new home!


Stay tuned for more updates on little Beattie, rest assured there will be lots of photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so make sure you are following me! 

YFC Stockman of the Year

20:49

Last Sunday I headed up to Worcester Cattle Market with a few other members of my Young Farmers club for the Worcestershire Young Farmers Stockman of the Year competition. As many of you know, my one previous stock judging experience from last year (which you can read about here) wasn’t all that successful. So it won’t surprise you to hear that I did not sign myself up for this competition, it’s just what you get when you don’t turn up to a meeting!

Anyway, I turned up ready for my young stockman of the year competition with my shirt, tie, white coat, freshly showered wellies (go and check out my Instagram if you don’t know what I’m talking about!) and all of the other things you need for stock judging. However, we got there and it was decided that we didn’t have enough members for a junior team, hence I was promoted to the senior stock judging team.

The first task of the day was the animal health and husbandry questionnaire which was definitely a challenge despite the fact that it was multiple choice! Once I had completed that it was on to the stock judging... The four classes we were judging were dairy cows, butchers cattle, finished lambs and butchers pigs. I had only ever judged breeding ewes so it was all new to me! I enjoyed judging the dairy cows the most and definitely had the most to say about them.

The first ring I had to judge was butchers cattle, then finished lambs, butchers pigs and finally dairy cows. I surprised myself with how much information I was able to come up with for my reasoning...
At the end of the day, we managed to come 7th out of 12 which we were quite pleased with as we aren’t a team of experienced competitors.

If you get the chance to be involved in a stock judging competition I would definitely recommend it as it helps you to develop your understanding of livestock and the requirements for the current market. Not only that, but it also helps to develop your presentation skills and encourages you to make observations and decisions under time pressure. It is something that I think everyone in YFC should have a go at!


If you are interested in joining your local young farmer's club you can find more information from the NFYFC here

#studentfarmer Blogger of the Year!

18:54

Just a quick one this weekend (but keep your eyes peeled for a stock judging one later this week as I’ve been today!)...
Back in December, just before Christmas, I was contacted by the lovely team over at #studentfarmer magazine (for the NFU) who let me know that I had been nominated as Blogger of the Year. I was really excited (and flattered, so a massive thank you to whoever nominated me!) as I had never been nominated for anything like this before... I love reading student farmer magazine and after visiting the NFU HQ last year and meeting some of the team it was very exciting. I received a call from student farmer where I took part in an interview which was great, Chad from student farmer was really easy to talk to and made me feel at ease.
A couple of days later I received an email from student farmer saying that I had won! I honestly couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t wait for the January awards edition to come out so I could read the pieces about me and all of the other young people that had been nominated for different awards. There are some great stories in there of such inspirational people. My feature is so nice and I can’t thank student farmer enough for all of their kind words. You can find the online edition of the magazine here.

If you are a student or a YFC member you can apply for membership to the NFU completely FREE! You can sign up here and then you will receive copies of #studentfarmer and British Farmer & Grower so you can keep up to date.
You can also follow student farmer on Twitter and Instagram both at @studentfarmer...


Top 5 NFYFC Competition Experiences

19:23

It won’t be long now until Spring rolls around and we’re entering the season of Game Fairs, County Shows and of course, YFC Competitions. In preparation for the looming rally season, which is just around the corner (literally - I’m in the Stockman of the Year Competition next weekend!),  I thought I would reflect on my top 5 competition experiences with YFC to encourage you all to try something new this year!

1.      Junior Member of the Year (Public Speaking)
I was sort of unwillingly signed up for the Junior Member of the Year competition last year (as is usually the case with young farmers) and I wasn’t very confident about public speaking. Nevertheless, I put together my CV and presentation and went to compete on the day. It was a new experience for me but I really enjoyed it (and won!) and I would recommend anyone to give it a go. I did a blog post about it here which you can go and read if you want to find out more about it.


2.      Cookery
This was the first competition I ever did with YFC and it’s now one of my staples (I get signed up for it every year)... It’s great fun to come up with a dish and prepare it on the day, and it is especially satisfying if the judges like it! You also have to put together a menu, nutrition guide and cost guide which I think are good skills to have and make you think more about what you are making (and serving!).


3.      Stock Judging
I truly believe this is one for everyone to try! With dairy cows, beef cows, breeding ewes, horses, pigs and fat lambs (plus carcas judging) to choose from there ought to be at least one animal you’re interested in. There’s always someone willing to lend a hand (and a white coat!) to help you prepare and it’s usually a really good day. I have also written a post about my stock judging experience last year which you can find here.


4.      Metalwork
Before rally last year, the extent of my metalwork experience had been soldering in DT at school... But with the help of my Dad, I managed to produce a weather vane to the theme ‚tomorrows world‘ out of an old kids bike and it now lives in our garden. Even though I didn’t win, it was a really good challenge and I feel like I produced a really good product.


5.      The Exhibits
Last year I put together the Junior Exhibit on my own and helped with the big club exhibit too. It is really great to see how, one paint stroke at a time, you can turn a big wooden box into a giant piece of art! It’s great fun to work on as a whole club and it’s good for team building as well as showcasing your artistic abilities (some that you didn’t know you had!).



I hope that this has inspired you to try something new this year in or out of YFC! If you are aged 10-26 and want to join the Young Farmers, you can find information on their website here. 

Happy 2017!

16:45

Happy new year everyone! I hope you're all well and you have has a good first week of 2017...
I started the new year off with lunch in the Red Hart with my family for my Aunty's birthday, the food was delicious as usual and I would recommend it if you're local. It's a country pub in Kington and they serve great food and amazing Sunday lunches with local meat. The lamb for the Sunday lunches comes from the farm I did some lambing at last year so you never know, I might just have delivered your dinner!

We spent the next day at the new years day meet which was a great day out as it usually is. We met in the town centre and there were loads of people out to see the hunt, it was great to see such a lot of support from the public. I think that the big meets are really vital as they keep the general public in the loop and introduce hunting to people who wouldn’t usually come out for it. It stayed dry  (always a bonus) and although it was cold, the sun was out and it was a lovely day. We followed for a while and although we didn’t see much, we met some nice followers and got some fresh air in the countryside.


Since then, I have mostly been revising for and doing my AS mock exams in sixth form which went ok for the most part. It’s back to school now though which definitely isn't as fun! 
As for new years resolutions, I'm not going to make any of those cliche new years resolutions because I know I won't keep them... I just have two goals for this year that I think are feasible (I hope) to achieve by 2018 which seems an awfully long way away. 
Firstly, I want to get my driving license. I turned 17 in September and got my provisional license as well as buying my car, so my aim for this year is to be able to drive it... This means passing my theory and practical test so wish me luck! 
My second resolution really shouldn't be too difficult, that is to try something new with young farmers. Seeing as I didn't make it to the meeting last week and I got signed up for the stockman of the year competition, it should be easy to find a new area to have a go at. Last year I tried metalwork and public speaking along with loads more, so this year I want to try something else... 
That's all for now, but I assure you there will be more going on in the next few weeks. Especially if I end up in the stockman of the year competition... 

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