Clover is part of this year’s National Sheep Association Next Generation Ambassador programme. The programme is dedicated to encouraging and supporting young sheep farmers of the future. We reached out to Clover to ask her take on the women in farming.
How did you come to apply for the National Sheep Association Next Generation Ambassador programme?
I applied for the Next Generation programme because I had heard such great reviews from previous ambassadors. They had told me how you meet like-minded people, get to visit farms that you would otherwise never see and network with people who you will stay in contact with for the rest of your life – and they weren’t wrong! It has been brilliant for my career and personal development.
Do you have a favourite breed? If so, why?
I was brought up around Romneys, having worked with numerous other breeds since then I would still lean towards the Romney or a Romney cross. They have good maternal ability; they are efficient lamb rearers and I like the look of them – which is always a bonus when you are driving round stock in the rain!
What gets you up in the morning?
Although I have never struggled to get motivated to go to work, I’m lucky like that, my dog, Goose, gets me up. As cliche as it is, he has changed my life. We do everything together.
What do you love about British Wool?
British Wool work on behalf of the producer to get the best returns. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to produce a product that is ready to go to auction and sold at the best price for you. I recently attended a British Wool Shearing course and got my Bronze seal. I learned so much in 2 days. Courses like these improve the quality of the wool sent to depots and improve welfare for the sheep and shearer. I would also recommend taking a look at the resource section on their website, there are some brilliant activities and materials, especially for children.
Are there any particular challenges of being a woman in your industry?
Yes. But the challenges are what you make of them. I have always seen them as more of an opportunity than a barrier. When I first started driving tractors at harvest, for instance, there was never any expectation on me to be good at it (‘because I was a girl’). So, I automatically felt like I was in a win win situation. I just had to have a go. I have just put my head down and let my work do the talking. I like the challenge of proving people wrong. I am lucky to work for someone who is really fighting my corner: he is the first person to tell people who come on the farm that they need to be speaking to me and not him because I’m the one that drives the combine.
If you could give one piece of advice to women starting out in this industry, what would it be?
Have a go, get stuck in and ask questions. Don’t be scared of what others think about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, if it makes you happy then stick at it. Make and take opportunities that come your way and never turn down the chance to learn. Go on as many visits and courses as you can. See how other people it do things better and how not to do it too.