Imogen is currently 18 years of age and attempting find her feet in the agricultural industry.
She is currently a student at Reaseheath Agricultural College in Cheshire and hopes it will lead to a career in the sector in the future. She is studying a level 3 extended diploma in agriculture and is currently doing her middle year placement. She is doing this on a dairy farm close to home and will then complete her studies in September.
Although only 18 and still learning, it’s still safe to say that Imogen knows her stuff.
Her grandparents were farmers and although the farming bug skipped a generation, she surely caught the ‘virus’.
She really caught the bug at the age of 11 upon her mother meeting a new man, who just so happened to be a farmer. This enabled Imogen to develop her thirst and love for farming and indeed set her on the path she’s currently taking today. She had wanted to be a vet at a younger age, but the call of the pastures was too much.
She has always had an interest in sheep, and a helping hand in taking care of her mothers. Her aspirations for the future is to own her own Pedigree Texel stock. She feels the breed is one of the best, and loves the show aspect involved. She does have her own sheep at the moment, but none up to a satisfactory level to compete in shows.
Her earliest farming memory is again sheep related. She remembers tending to a ewe who was struck with a case of maggots. At the age of six she remembers getting her hands dirty, and even at such an early age had experienced the tragedy of losing a different member of the flock to disease.
On her work placement on a dairy farm at the moment, Imogen is really getting her hands dirty.
She begins her day at about 8.a.m. and goes straight into cleaning up the mess in the aftermath of the mornings milking. She scrapes up any dirt and cleans the area before bedding the calves and completing any other job that needs doing. She also spreads slurry and ploughs fields when needed, and as I said gets her hands well and truly dirty. When she has her days, work done she heads home and tends to her own animals. Her mum and her partner farm sheep, Suckler cows and grow potatoes so there is always plenty of work to be done.
When she has spare time at the weekend she also does a bit of relief milking. She helped complete the Silage 2 weeks ago now she has been tanking for the last week, in preparation for the second cut.
Though it can be hard work there are humorous times involved too. Imogen remembers one incident in particular where she was helping unblock slurry channels. As the tanker was in the shed blowing slurry through the channel, the pipe on the back blew off and Imogen got showered in the remaining Urea. Though she did see the funny side and as she said she “luckily” had overalls on.
Below is the Tractor and Tanker used on a regular occassion by Imogen.
Although she does admit to struggling at certain aspects of the trade, she feels women should exude more confidence and urged them to prove the doubters wrong.
When asked was there a stigma still attached to the industry she responded “Yes, but it is a lot better than it was”. She says she’s the first to admit there are things which she physically just cannot do, like undoing a tight nut and bolt. But she then says “I can keep up when silage harvesting and getting the maize no problem. I can plough and spread muck.” And adding “I don’t give up”.
It seems to be her motto to keep ‘ploughing’ (excuse the pun) on, and working her way up the ladder. She is also a member of the Beeston young farmers group.
When asked what she thought the future of farming was going to entail, she felt although some may think that it is “dying” that there is cause for optimism. She said the increased use of new technologies has seen more and more young people become encouraged into taking the plunge.