Farmers Apprentice finalists announced

The ten finalists going through to the Farmers Apprentice bootcamp later this month have been announced.

Earlier this year Farmers Weekly launched a groundbreaking new initiative called the Farmers Apprentice to help young people from all walks of life get a foot on the farming career ladder. The judges of the competition have been in awe of the response to the initiative and overwhelmed by the calibre of the applicants.

It was incredibly difficult to choose only 10 finalists and it often came down to the smallest of margins. The final ten were those who managed in a 60 second video to convey a passion for farming, creative flair, business acumen, good communication skills and ambition for the future.

Head judge Christine Tacon tweeted: “Entries fantastic for @farmapprentice: such variety, enthusiasm and even humour. We need every one of them in our industry.”

You can read about each of the ten finalists below.

 Meet the final 10 

Annabelle Story

Age: 22

Background: Harper Adams graduate from Northumberland who works as a shepherdess in the Scottish borders

Ambitions: To use breeding, genetics and technology to achieve superior gross margins in the sheep industry

How would you spend the £10k? Sheep and grass park lets

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Beyonce

Annabelle Story

She said: “I think it’s a great opportunity. A lot of people think I can’t do it and I want to prove them wrong!”

Catherine Barrett

Age: 24

Background: Politics graduate from Surrey working as a parliamentary researcher on food security and agricultural science in London

Ambitions: To become an agronomist and improve the knowledge transfer of agricultural science

How would you spend the £10k? Become BASIS qualified

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Jimmy Doherty

Catherine Barrett

She said: “I want to prove to myself and the viewers at home that this change (from urban to rural) is not only possible, but one you’d be crazy not to make.”

George Brown

Age: 21

Background: Cambridge University graduate with no farming background, who is working on a dairy farm in New Zealand.

Ambitions: To own a farm and prove that people with no-farming background can build successful careers in agriculture

How would you spend the £10k? Buy 30 heifer calves

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Justin Beiber

George Brown

He said: “I want show all my mates who have gone off to work in the city that there are great careers out there in the countryside.”

James Baker

Age: 19

Background: Self-employed with his own maintenance business, but also works full-time in the local gym and runs a flock of 35 ewes on a small holding at home in Devon.

Ambitions: To develop his business of rearing lambs to sell locally and eventually diversify into pig farming

How would you spend the £10k? Upgrade equipment, rent more land and focus on building the sheep business

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Jeremy Clarkson

James Baker

He said: “As you can tell, I’m hard working and regularly work 100 hour weeks. If I win the money I would jack in the full time job and focus on my main goal.”

Joneal Bryan

Age: 24

Background: Entrepreneurial biology graduate from inner city London with no farming experience to speak of and currently works in business development

Ambitions: To help meet the food needs of a growing population and educate young people in London about farming as a profession.

How would you spend the £10k? Starting an organic poultry farm

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Jamie Oliver

Joneal Bryan

He said: “I want to use this experience to educate young people from my area in London and let them know what choices they have.”

Joshua Metcalfe

Age: 21

Background: English literature graduate from Yorkshire with limited farm experience and is writing for the agricultural press about getting started in farming

Ambitions: To supply and run his own farm shop providing food to the local community

How would you spend the £10k? Fund an agricultural course and run a small sheep flock on the side

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Stephen Fry

Joshua Metcalfe

He said: “For somebody in my position, starting from nothing, this can’t be more important to anyone else. The £10k would go a lot further for me.”

Michael Scott

Age: 23

Background: Beef and dairy farmer from southwest Scotland who has played rugby to international level with Scotland and is currently focussing on improving the genetics of his herd back home.

Ambitions: To develop his start-up agricultural recruitment business and eventually take on the family farm once he’s had enough experience running other businesses.

How would you spend the £10k? Focus on improving the genetics of herd at home

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Stephen Fry

Michael Scot

He said: “Rugby has definitely made me a better person. I’ve had to work with loads of different people and you’ve got to know how to deal with them.”

Mike Mateer

Age: 25

Background: Business management graduate from London who was chasing a career in banking with HSBC until he gave it all up to become a dairy farmer and is now milking cows in Shropshire.

Ambitions: My goal in life is to be the Steve Jobs [The late founder of Apple] of the farming world

How would you spend the £10k? Develop a more profitable and efficient dairy business model

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Steve Jobs

Mike Mateer

He said: “I’m only allowed to come to bootcamp on one condition that I win.”

Sam Pitchley

Age: 23

Background: Writtle College graduate from London who works for Vauhall City farm managing livestock and educating disadvantaged children about sustainable methods of farming

Ambitions: Manage a livestock farm while educating those who don’t always know where their food comes from

How would you spend the £10k? On an enterprise that focuses on encouraging children in KS1/KS2 education to consider careers working outdoors and with animals

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Matt Baker

Sam Pitchley

She said: “Farming is what I want to do and one way or another I will get to doing it.”

Sophie Barnes

Age: 20

Background: Brought up in the city but fell in love with sheep after an animal management course. Just enrolled at agricultural college and is about to start an environmental business degree as well.

Ambitions: To develop a business that combines the production and retail of top quality ethical meat with rural tourism

How would you spend the £10k? Rent a small plot of land to rear rare breed sheep

Which celebrity should be the face of British farming? Elvis. You can’t ignore Elvis

Sophie Barnes

She said: “Only when you own your own farm do you get to do it your way.”

Watch the final 10’s entry videos

The first episode of the Farmers Apprentice will be shown on Tuesday 13th November at Make sure you don’t miss it!

More on this topic

Visit our Farmers Apprentice site