Farmers Apprentice 2014: Meet the finalists

They’re bright, they’re determined and they want to win. The 10 finalists of the Farmers Apprentice are about to embark on a challenging week-long bootcamp at Easton & Otley College near Norwich.

The tasks will test their stamina and skills, and give them insight on their own strengths and weaknesses. They are certainly up for it. Some haven’t been born into farming, but every one of them is committed to making their mark in this industry.


Charles-InnesName: Charlie Innes

Age: 23

Location: London

Background: This competitive Scotsman has farming in the blood. He grew up on the family farm then set up his first business trading hay and fodder at the age of 14. He sold it four years later to fulfil his lifelong dream of travelling around the world to learn from different farming enterprises and agri-businesses – and now wants to grow peanuts in the UK. He’s studying mechanical engineering with business finance at University College London and the London School of Economicss.

Interesting fact: President of the UCL rowing club.

Watch Charlie’s entry video

Carwyn-JamesName: Carwyn James

Age: 19

Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales

Background: Carwyn took over the family’s 120ha farm at 15 years old and has increased the sheep flock from 50 to 250 and the number of sucklers from 20 to 50. He’s a regular public speaker and has appeared on a BBC radio documentary, so he’s no stranger to the limelight. His ambition is to develop a sustainable and diverse enterprise, bringing the consumer back in touch with the producer.

Interesting fact: Head boy at Ysgol y Preseli.

Watch Carwyn’s entry video 

William-HintonName: William Hinton

Age: 20

Location: Wiltshire

Background: This modest, hard-working Wiltshire lad has turned a childhood hobby into a lifestyle. Working in partnership with his dad, he now owns 500 sheep and eight sucklers. He took a diploma in agriculture at Lackham College and is now studying Agriculture at Reading University. Various sports and shearing competitions occupy his spare time. He dreams of owning his own pedigree Texel flock.

Interesting fact: Won student Shepherd of the Year in 2012.

Watch William’s entry video

Richard-BradleyName: Richard Bradley

Age: 18

Location: Cambridgeshire

Background: He’s the baby of the bunch, but his experience and maturity is sure to give the other contestants a run for their money. Richard fits in his schooling around working on his family’s arable farm near Wisbech. Come September, he will be off to Harper Adams University to study agricultural engineering.

Interesting fact: Richard part-funded a trip to Kenya by setting up The Scenic Card Shop using photographs taken during his travels.

Watch Richard’s entry video

Sam-GoslingName: Sam Gosling

Age: 20

Location: Stafford

Background: Sam may not be from a farming background, but he’s determined that it’s his destiny. He has worked on many farms, and in rural property businesses, to gain valuable experience for running his own farming business one day. He is studying rural property management at Reading University and has a breeding flock of six pedigree Suffolk ewes. He won a drama scholarship in his teens so we have a feeling he’s going to love the camera when he gets to bootcamp.

Interesting fact: Officer cadet in the Oxford University Training Corps.

Watch Sam’s entry video


Charlotte-FoxallName: Charlotte Foxall

Age: 22

Location: Staffordshire

Background: Charlotte can’t wait to give the guys a run for their money when it comes to getting stuck into the tasks. This hard-working and determined farmer’s daughter jointly manages the family’s suckler herd and helps out with her father’s agricultural engineering business. A keen chef, she hopes one day to run her own restaurant alongside the farm.

Interesting fact: She could leap ahead with her trampolining and skiing skills.

Watch Charlotte’s entry video

Rebecca-ThorpeName: Becky Thorpe

Age: 21

Location: Warwickshire

Background: Drive, passion and extensive experience is what Becky hopes will one day see her running her own large suckler herd. She’s a farmworker who can turn her hand to practical jobs from muckspreading to milking and grain carting. She’s also pretty smart, having graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in zoo biology.

Interesting fact: Handy with a trowel, having worked for plastering contractors.

Watch Becky’s entry video

Kate-YellsName: Kate Yells

Age: 24

Location: Devon

Background: Kate is going to be flying back to the UK from Australia – where she is working on a 66,000ha sheep and arable farm – to take part in the Farmers Apprentice bootcamp. This hard-working and determined geography graduate from Devon grew up on a farm in the UK and had her own flock of chickens, selling their eggs from a young age. Kate raised money for a trip to Brazil by producing and selling lambs from 10 of her own ewes over two lambing seasons. She is dedicated to progressing her career in farming and hopes to complete a graduate diploma in agriculture next year.

Interesting fact: Teaching herself how to knit.

Watch Kate’s entry video

Catherine-CorbettName: Catherine Corbett

Age: 20

Location: Wiltshire

Background: The clue to Catherine’s love for cows is in her video, which sees her dressed in a cowprint onesie, filming from a cowprint car. She may not be from a farming background, but she has experience working on livestock farms and is now studying agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.

Interesting fact: Plays the clarinet and recorder and was assistant school band captain.

Watch Catherine’s entry video 

Rebecca-KelsallName: Rebecca Kelsall

Age: 21

Location: Cheshire

Background: Helping her uncle rear some turkeys for Christmas kick-started Rebecca’s passion for farming. She went to Reaseheath to study equine management and is now at Harper studying agribusiness. She has practical hands-on cattle-handling skills with three relief milking jobs under her belt. She started her own herd of rare-breed pigs last year.

Interesting fact: She owns more pairs of wellies than she does heels.

Watch Rebecca’s entry video


Will-GemmillName: Will Gemmill

Job title: National Head of Farming and Eastern Regional Chairman for Strutt & Parker

Key facts:

  • Qualified agronomist
  • Chairman and organiser of Litlington Farmer’s Discussion Group
  • Former director of Oxford Farming Conference
  • Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farmers
  • Partner of Gemmill Brothers LLP (family farming business).

What Will is looking for in the winner: Someone who has the tenacity to keep going even when they are knocked down. They must have good people skills, be a team player and be able to demonstrate leadership without being over-the-top. They will also be a lateral thinker who shows ambition and enthusiasm about life and is keen to get on.

Jane-KingName: Jane King

Job title: Editor/Editorial director of Farmers Weekly Group

Key facts:

  • Leading content for the Farmers Weekly Group for almost 10 years
  • Senior visiting fellow at Lincoln University School of Journalism
  • Keen to work with the industry to prepare the next generation for the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead..

What Jane is looking for in the winner: I’m hoping we will find a winner who epitomises the talent and drive that’s required for the future – someone who energises others, thinks outside the box, has fresh ideas and is able to see the bigger picture.

Richard-PriceName: Richard Price

Job title: Director of Farming for Lowther Estate, Cumbria

Key facts:

  • 2013 Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year
  • Member of the Institute of Agricultural Farm Management
  • Chairman, Campaign for the Farmed Environment
  • Works closely with Newton Rigg college to encourage youngsters into farming..

What Richard is looking for in the winner: I want to see lots of passion for farming and drive coming through in this year’s finalists. One thing I don’t like seeing is laziness, I really want to see people going that extra mile. If I can give the finalists one bit of advice, it’s to view farming as a business – don’t just do what your dad did, or what is the norm, be your own person.