Our Farming Journey
We are first-generation farmers, Rachel and Jake. We started our farming business three years ago and have never looked back.
Our journey began when Farmer made me spill me brew as he lobbed a Farmers Weekly on my lap! He had found a Council farm tenancy opportunity in Devon and had his heart set from the second he saw it.
From that moment, there was nothing but early mornings, late nights, a tonne of paperwork and a serious overreliance on caffeine and grapes (the fermented kind!). We worked our wellies off to pull together the best business plan we could, having never written one before in our lives.
We somehow managed to secure a pre-interview home visit from the Council – genuinely one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life. We had a viccy sponge and a gert brew ready, and for the next couple hours shared our dreams and vision of what we wanted to create.
We were shortlisted for interview; a day I’ll never forget. We rock up all suited and booted two hours early and spent the entire time absolutely terrified in the car park! The phone call came that evening, and Farmer heard the words he had wanted to hear since he was a little boy - we had a farm!
We couldn’t believe we were finally catching up with a dream we had been chasing for so long. We quit our jobs, packed our life into boxes and travelled from our little home in Somerset to begin our farming journey in South Devon.
It has been a crazy journey of lessons, loss, challenges, laughs, setbacks and achievements. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve learnt or laughed more in my life, than I have over these past three years.
A great support in our early days was connecting with the local farming community. We literally started our journey with diddly squat - no animals, machinery or equipment, so it has been invaluable being able to lean on local farmers for support.
We have created a life we can be proud of. We now have 30 in-calf cows due to calve in March, with 10 followers coming through this year, plus 80 ewes due to begin lambing in April. We also have a holiday let business, which is a great source of income to support the farm (albeit, obviously not during a global pandemic!)
We started to blog about our journey on Facebook and now have a following of nearly 22,000. So if you wanna laugh along with us, or most likely at us, come follow @ourfarmingjourney. We started getting so many messages from other first-generation farmers wanting advice and guidance of how to get onto the farming ladder. As much as I love a good natter, I couldn’t keep up!
So, we whacked the kettle on, as well as our thinking caps, and created a membership website specifically for first-generation farmers.
There is a wealth of knowledge on there from industry experts including: Cornish Mutual, Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Kivells, Tenant Farmers Association, Lloyds Bank, Symonds and Sampson, and so many more.
We cover topics such as tenancies, grants and subsides, accessing funding and farm insurance. We hope it can be a super-helpful resource for aspiring farmers wanting to gain the incredible opportunity of farming in their own right.
If you’re an aspiring first-generation farmer reading this right now – know that it absolutely can be done. I’d say it’s invaluable to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be, then watch and listen. And of course, don’t be afraid to work ya wellies off!