Farmer, 86, working every day to #FeedTheNation

Farmers tend to gradually wind down their work as they reach old age, but no one told Devonshire farmer Alec Burrough.

Despite being classed as very high risk to coronavirus, the 86-year-old is working every day to keep Britain farming and help #FeedTheNation.

He is still using the same 54-year-old red Nuffield 10/60 tractor to carry out a range of daily tasks on the organic family dairy farm he moved to as a young boy in Cullompton, Devon.

He has been farming full-time for the past 71 years.

See also: Coronavirus: Prince praises farmers who #FeedTheNation

As one of the 1.5 million classed as “extremely vulnerable” by the UK government, this has not deterred him from carrying out the essential role he plays as a key worker during the crisis that has gripped Britain.

At a time when there is a shortage of farmworkers in the UK, Mr Burrough, an avid Farmers Weekly reader, is a true inspiration.

His list of daily jobs includes work in the yard, on the tractor in the fields and calf rearing.

Alec Burrough on his tractor

Mr Burrough, who has suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) for many years, said: “I’m just doing what I’ve always done and making sure people stay fed.

“People with a serious lung condition like mine are told to try to stay active, and I’m definitely doing that.

“If someone had told me I’d still be using the same Nuffield tractor to do my job 54 years on, I’d say that was a good investment.”

Hard work and frugality

Mr Burrough said his childhood spent farming during the Second World War instilled in him an appreciation of hard work, frugality and working together for the common good.

“During the war, we had to work together and make the most of everything we had,” he explained.

“We didn’t take anything for granted.

“I don’t understand how people throw things away so easily now, whereas I was always brought up to make the most of what I had – like my tractor.” 

The older generations are capable of great things, as shown by NHS fundraising hero Captain Thomas Moore.

The 99-year-old war veteran has raised more than £27m by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday

Mr Burrough will celebrate his 87th birthday in July.

He farms with his son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Louise, and has three grandchildren aged 7, 9 and 11.


Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation during the coronavirus crisis.

With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.

Join in the campaign by sharing your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #FeedtheNation or email us at or telephone 020 8652 4905.

See more