Whether you have been to college, university or head straight into the world of work, starting your first full-time job can be a bit of a shock.
For me, joining the farming business about three years ago, I felt as if I didn’t know anything.
Despite growing up on the farm, and helping out in the holidays, I came into the world of farming pretty naively.
I had studied International Business at university, worked in a marketing job in London, and then saw the cows out in the fields when I came home. It didn’t matter that it was a family farm – I was still a total beginner.
I immersed myself in as many courses as I could. I attended local discussion group meetings, and was lucky enough to take part in the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation, learning from others with a lot more experience than myself.
It felt good to meet people in the same situation as me, and learn about different farming systems which I’d never experienced.
As well as that, I started my social media pages with a desire to learn from others, whether it was about dairy farming, or the other sectors of which I knew little.
What I took for granted, though, was the knowledge available at home. We are extremely fortunate that the majority of our farm team are long-standing members, and have all worked within agriculture for most of their lives.
They had knowledge about caring for the animals, plus tips and tricks that I just wouldn’t have got anywhere else. Even now, I still probably ask way too many questions, but it has taught me a lot!
My learning journey will never be over, but now I can reflect on the amount I’ve learned so far. I feel incredibly lucky that both me and my younger brother, James, are learning from our dad, who has worked on the farm most of his life and has really taken it to the next level.
My advice, for anyone who might be just starting out in this industry, or wanting to take that next step, is to just ask. There are so many valuable bits of knowledge you can learn from people around you.
Courses and learning online are great too, of course, but don’t be afraid to ask questions – and remember, practical experience is invaluable.