Not farming but still showing cattle
By Jeremy Hunt
THE Sellers family from Derbyshire admit they have fallen under the spell of the Royal Smithfield Show despite leaving full-time farming.
When Phil Sellers helped his father show stock more than 40 years ago, it was the start of a deep interest in exhibiting prime cattle that has never waned.
These days, Mr Sellers is no longer involved in farming after deciding to run a catering business and delicatessen and take-away outlet in Belper.
But he is still a dedicated Smithfield Show exhibitor.
In the past, hes unloaded as many as 13 cattle at Earls Court but this week hes pinning his hopes on six entries.
One of his most fancied candidates, a combination of Belgian Blue and Limousin, is Hungry Jack name after of the Sellers family business.
“From as far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed the challenge of showing prime cattle,” he said.
“Now the business takes up more of our time and although we still do a lot of summer shows, it isnt anything like the 40 shows a season we used to attend.”
The family has certainly enjoyed its share of success at Smithfield, winning reserve overall champion at the last show in 1998 with a Limousin-cross heifer.
They won the heifer championship in 1990 with an Aberdeen Angus sired entry and took the senior steer ticket in 1992 with a Limousin-cross.
Mr Sellers used to buy his potential show cattle through the auction ring but now farmers in Cumbria and Wales supply him with likely winners.
“Our suppliers know what we are looking for. We usually select our cattle as calves while they are still suckling,” he said.
The cattle are housed for six months to prepare them for the winter shows.
“Its important to make sure cattle get used to all sorts of activity from people and vehicles so they arent overawed when they arrive at Earls Court.”
No other primestock show has an atmosphere like Smithfield, he believes.
“I was brought up with this show and although exhibiting cattle is now just a hobby, once you start showing at this level you become hooked.”
With son Jarrod in action in the new Young Farmers Club classes this week, it looks like the Sellers name will continue to be part of the Smithfield scene.