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Beth Phalp – International Women’s Day

We chatted with Beth and asked her experiences in the farming industry.

How did you come to apply for the National Sheep Association Next Generation Ambassador programme?

I first saw the next generation programme advertised on the NSA social media page and read into it from there. The first stage of the application involved answering questions about yourself, the farm, and future ambitions, from this, I was invited for an online interview.

I applied for the programme to further my knowledge of the sheep sector and gain the opportunity to speak to other like minded people in our industry. There are a lot of challenges coming our way in farming and I believe the more knowledge you can gain from others and the way they run their farms/ businesses, the better. The programme provides a great opportunity to do this and to speak to other young people in the industry, sharing advice with each other.

I believe it is a very important time for the sheep sector to work together to fly the flag for sheep farming and support each other.

Do you have a favourite breed? If so, why?

I would say my favourite breed is the Cheviot. On our farm we have moved away from other breeds in the last 5 years and concentrated more on Cheviots, breeding our own replacement Cheviot mules. We find they are good strong ewes producing strong lambs and work well in our system on the farm.

What gets you up in the morning?

I trust if you enjoy your work getting up on a morning isn’t so bad! I’ve always loved the farm and being outdoors.  I’ve helped on the farm for as long as I can remember as a child. Farming’s definitely in my blood, every day is different with a different challenge!

What do you love about British wool?

I think British wool is a fantastic natural product which is often undervalued and has so many uses!  I would like to look into doing more with our sheep wool direct off farm in the future.

Are there any particular challenges of being a woman in your industry?

I believe there are definitely more and more women at the forefront in farming. I’ve never particularly had any problems with being a female in farming. My grandad and my dad have always encouraged me to work on the farm. I think I am quite lucky in that respect – my family have always been supportive. Everyone I’ve worked for and farms I’ve worked on have been absolutely on board with women in agriculture. So, for me, I haven’t really come across any issues being a woman in farming. I think it is a changing and adaptive industry and there are more women showing that they can play a key role. I think that it is more to do with your personality and your passion for farming, than your gender.

If you could give one piece of advice to women starting out in this industry, what would it be? 

If you’re determined enough, you can do it! Farming is a lifestyle choice rather than a job; you certainly have to be committed.  I think it’s a good idea to gain knowledge from different farms, work and talk with lots of people. I went out to New Zealand and gained so much experience from the different methods/set ups they use, which I could then bring ideas back home. There will always be plenty to learn in farming, gain as much experience as you can to expand your knowledge.

If you’re passionate about it, go for it!