I do not come from farming stock, but was drawn to farming, working saturday jobs on farms as a teenager and then full-time for a couple of years after leaving school. Somehow from there I ended up in the broadcast technology industry: started a company, sold a company, brought a farm in Devon in 2001, with a mission to sell “home-bred, grass-fed” beef and lamb. Since then, I’ve learnt a lot about farming, native breeds, and producing high quality meat from grass.
Despite best intentions, events kept pulling me away from the farm; I ran the Devon cattle breed society for 7 years and have tried to do what I can through writing, and working with others, to advocate for native breeds and grass-based systems. In 2018, with post-Brexit changes afoot and a sense that livestock farming needed to do more to get ahead of climate debate, I decided to take myself out of farming to consider it from a working distance.
Having completed a Msc in Food Policy, I now find myself doing a PhD at the Centre for Rural Policy Research, Exeter University. My thesis is looking at how we, as livestock farmers, can engage with the non-farming public in a way that is most likely to sustain our “social licence to farm”.