Catherina Cunnane interviews Tom Pemberton, a full-time beef, dairy and sheep farmer, with followers across the world.
Name: Tom Pemberton
Location: Lytham St Annes on the Fylde Coast
Have you always been interested in farming? I started farming when I was around 15/16-years-old during weekends and summer holidays. When I was 18-years-old, I went to the Royal Agricultural College (RAU now) for 2 years and did a course in foundation AG (Yep I was a FAG).
When did you begin farming on a full-time basis? I then came back to the farm working full-time when I was 20 and never really looked back.
What type of farm do you operate? We are mainly a dairy farm with 120 milking cows with followers and 100 or so beef cattle and a few sheep running around.
What's your role? I am a farming herdsman; a member of staff works with me every day. I also work with my dad who is still hugely involved in the day-to-day running of the farm.
You have a prominent presence on social media, how did this begin? I got into social media by mistake. I was trying to promote a raw milk vending machine in a video which my girlfriend helped me with at the time. We posted the video on Facebook and YouTube - Facebook went really well with around 11,000 views and YouTube only got 200-300 views. That’s how it started, completely by mistake!
What is the strangest thing you have ever posted on social media? Probably getting covered in muck or doing an LDA on a cow.
How do you generate content ideas? We just film what happens on the farm that week or produce a video on why we do a certain job. I try my best to speak to farmers and also people who have no idea about farming. So, then I explain things in pretty simple terms, so everyone can enjoy them, and it opens up my audience. Fans give me suggestions as well, which is fantastic!
Why do you think people are so interested in your content? I have no idea, but maybe it’s because people can relate to me. I think there are a lot of farmers who are my size and have the same struggles as we do on the farm. I also like to have a laugh with it all, so maybe people can laugh with or at me for 10-15-minutes twice-a-week!
Do you produce and edit the videos yourself? I shoot and edit everything myself. It takes anywhere from 1.5-6-hours - depending on the video. I started off with just a phone and grew what’s in my kit bag pretty slowly. I now use a GoPro Hero7, Rode microphone on a Gorilla tripod and use a Mavic Pro 2 for my drone shots.
Do you enjoy posting content? It started with promoting our own farm but now I just enjoy posting and interacting with everyone - I just really enjoy it.
How many followers do you have on each of your platforms? I have over 127,000 YouTube subscribers, more than 31,500 Instagram followers, around 25,000 followers on Snapchat and approximately 1,700 followers on Twitter. I don’t really use Twitter as I’m pretty dyslexic and struggle with getting my English right.
Where are your followers based? They are mainly from the UK/ Ireland and the USA, but they are all over the world which is incredible!
Do people come up to you when you're out in public? It’s happened twice or three times at home which was really cool.
You have your own merchandise range? Yes - TP Merch is on the web.
What has been your most successful Youtube video? When the new bull came – I think that clip has around 950,000 views.
What's your favourite thing about farming? Without a doubt, calving cows – I just love it!
What's difficult? It's a challenge every day with weather/prices/repairs/ which way should I take the farm but then again I can’t see myself doing anything else!
Do you think more farmers should follow in your footsteps by posting content from their farm? Absolutely - Show the world what good farming is being done.
What advice would you like to give to our readers? Whatever your goals are, write them down and try to read them as much as possible to remind yourself why you’re doing it. I work so much better when I have a goal to aim towards.
Any final words? Enjoy what you’re doing, and you won’t work a day in your life!