Welcome to “5 minutes with” where we get to know one of Britain’s brightest and best young farmers.
These brilliant young people are the future of the agriculture industry and we want to bring their lives, businesses, ideas and achievements to the fore.
By celebrating our young farmers and promoting what they do, we hope to generate even more interest in farming from younger generations and help make sure they get all the support they need to thrive in the future.
See also: How to get a job as a farm manager
This time we’re getting to know 28-year-old Dorset young farmer Tom Shepard.
What sort of farm do you live/work on?
I work on a dairy and beef farm and I have recently become a partner in my parents’ farm.
What do you get up to on the farm?
Everything from milking and yard work to livestock husbandry. I have tried hard to modernise the farm by putting in tracks, researching grass management and increasing the efficiency of the herd.
What do you get up to when you’re not farming?
I enjoy a cold beer. During the summer months I like playing cricket and in the winter months I take part in other country sports like shooting and hunting and I play for my local skittles team.
What’s in your lunchbox?
Whatever is in mum’s fridge on that day.
What’s the best bit about farming?
Bringing new life into the world and seeing animals thrive under your care. There is also nothing like the first day you get to turn the dairy herd out on to grass – I love seeing the girls dance around.
What’s the most frustrating bit about farming?
Compromising. There are times when things don’t go the way you expect or when you cannot get hold of produce or items when you need them.
Having said that, I do love the challenge of solving problems and finding a solution with what you have around the farm.
Are you a member of a Young Farmers Club?
No, sadly I am too old these days.
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
Having regular days off – every farmer has to have a dream right? Realistically though, at the moment I live in a mobile home on the farm, so I would like to have built my own home and be living in it.
I also hope to have the farm running at full capacity and reaching its potential and possibly looking in to new ventures.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
One of my ex-girlfriends – or all of them.
What makes you laugh?
Michael McIntyre and whoopee cushions.
What makes you angry?
People’s stupidity. Or people who cannot reverse.
What’s your proudest achievement to date?
Coming home to the farm and making it more profitable and efficient.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t sweat the small stuff – another local farmer said this to me and it helped me relax and prioritise.
When you’re in the tractor cab, what’s your top tune, podcast or audiobook?
DJ Mangoo – I enjoy belting it out and shaking my tail feather to this in my cab.
If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would spend the money on?
I really don’t know. I am renowned for being a bit of a Scrooge so I would probably save it after having a few beers in my local.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing UK farming today?
The volatile market and an ageing workforce. I hope this article is able to inspire other young people in to farming.
Tell us something about you that not many people know.
I can only move one of my ears – but both of my pecs.
Are you on Twitter and Instagram? Do you have a business page on Facebook?
No, I don’t have time for this. But any lady farmers can find me on Facebook.
If you are a young farmer or would like to nominate somebody for this feature, please email community editor Oli Hill with your name, age and a little bit about yourself.