Meet our Lord Mayor's Show farmers

Lord Mayor's Show young farmers 2017_46515Eight young farmers have landed starring roles representing British farming in one of the most popular historic civic pageants in the world.

The 802nd Lord Mayor’s Show takes place on Saturday 11 November and the NFU will again be supporting The Worshipful Company of Farmers alongside New Holland to help take the Back British Farming message into the heart of the City of London.

The group of farming champions, each representing the NFU’s seven English regions and Wales, was chosen after the NFU launched a nationwide search to find young farmers who have made an outstanding contribution to the agricultural sector.

Click on the links to meet the farmers:

Greg Colebrook, East Anglia

Hannah Binns, North West

Jack Davis, South East

Jessica Spencer, East Midlands

John Throup, North East

Ryan Came-Johnson, South West

Tom Rees, Wales

Dom Bloxham, West Midlands

Greg Colebrook, East Anglia, @Greg_Colebrook

Greg, 26, is from Cambridgeshire. He manages one of the UK’s largest beetroot farms on the Fens. He is a real entrepreneur at heart and is passionate about making British farming more effective and efficient.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
Be determined - there will be times when it can feel like you’re not making progress but every day you learn something new and it’s amazing how the knowledge gained when you start out comes back to help you later on, whether that’s crops, animals or people.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
I can’t wait to help take the best of British farming to London. We have a great story to tell and it’s vital to get the message across to those that aren’t closely linked to the industry.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
Having to go down to London and get my picture taken to be on the end of aisles in M&S stores promoting beetroot.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
Invest in the next generation. British agriculture needs to attract new entrants to the sector from outside the typical farming background, farming is full of technology and science that should have a wide appeal and this is changing at a fast pace and this needs to be championed.  

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
What scheme is the Government going to implement to allow the free movement of people to work? Agriculture has always relied on seasonal labour and it’s unrealistic to believe this demand is going to be filled by UK workers.


Hannah Binns, North West, @_hannahbinns

20-year-old Hannah comes from Lancashire where she lives on the family farm (1,600 acres, 2,500 sheep).

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
Give it your best shot and don't be afraid of getting anything wrong - mistakes are made so that we can learn from them. Also remember to ask questions.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
I'm excited to work alongside the other seven young farmers in promoting our hard-working but rewarding industry! This experience is a once in a lifetime and I cannot wait to grasp the opportunity to engage the general public in the #BackBritishFarming message.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
The most unusual thing I have done is my sponsored skydive for charity - I jumped out off a plane at 15,000FT to raise money for RABI - a farming charity close to my heart. The money I raised (£832) went to local North West farming families.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
I think British farming can have a bright future post-Brexit if farmers everywhere utilise their voices and stand their ground during Brexit negotiations. We need stability, with guaranteed access to the EU single market and a reliable work force. If we all promote this message and urge our government to recognise and promote our industry in their negotiations, I believe we have a good chance of a bright farming future. 

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
What joint of meat would you select if you were having a roast dinner?


Jack Davis, South East

Jack was not born into farming, but through membership of Young Farmers Club has become interested in livestock and has had success showing his pedigree Blonde heifer at various County shows. The 21-year-old is currently building up his herd, while working on harvest and studying. He lives in Kent.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
Be passionate about what you are doing, ask as many questions as possible. Visit as many farms as possible regardless of what sector of agriculture they are in. They all have operations that can be used and adapted to benefit other sectors. Finally, work hard and believe in what you are doing.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
Representing UK agriculture to the UK public, our primary consumer, and showing them what great produce British farmers produce each year and how important it is to support farming in the UK.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
Firstly, engaging with the British public to help them understand farming better and producing a product they demand on a continuous, consistent basis across all sectors. Secondly, come out of Brexit with a positive trade deal in place, however as it is in the hands of the politicians, I would say make the best of the deal that we receive and have a positive mind set when planning for the future.

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
To what extent will subsidies remain in place post-Brexit and will these be environmentally based?


Jessica Spencer, East Midlands 

Jessica, 20, grew up on a farm in Nottinghamshire. She’s passionate about promoting farming. She helps run the farm shop, which sells home-reared beef and homemade bread and cakes. She is an advocate for Back British Farming.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
Live life as though you’ll live just one more day; but farm as though you’ll live forever.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
I’m looking forward to helping fill the streets of London with happiness and joy while promoting one of the most valuable industries in the UK. Farming only tends to make the headlines following a crisis or disaster, so let’s get promoting the fantastic things that farmers do daily. For example, our fantastic animal welfare standards, years of traditional and successful family businesses, as well as the loyalty of our UK consumers.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
My desire for a successful career in both agriculture and politics has allowed me to develop an extensive contacts list. In March 2016, I was fortunate to attend a round table debate with Elizabeth Truss, the Defra Secretary of State at the time, to discuss the issues and advantages of ‘Women in Agriculture’. The discussion entailed the importance of encouraging women in to the agricultural industry and what issues we encounter regarding family and childcare – unsurprisingly a car seat doesn’t fit in a tractor.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
My fervent passion lies with technological advancement to ensure we can sustainably meet the food demands of our expanding global population to provide for an estimated 9 billion people on Earth by 2050. As much as I fear to comprehend a world run by robotic machinery, it is essential to facilitate new technology and innovation to compliment modern practical farming. For me, farming has always been a lifestyle; not a career. As a child growing up on a farm, the most valuable memories I have are working and learning alongside my father and grandfather. The traditional practical values passed on through farming generations, is what makes the UK agricultural industry so valuable. We choose to invest our time, effort and passion to provide food for not only our nation, but for our world. 

I believe this is highlighted in my favourite quote: ‘My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.’ - Brenda Schoepp

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
In June 2017, I was fortunate to attend a local meeting where a selection of local farmers met with the current Defra Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to quiz him about what the agricultural sector should be preparing themselves for as we begin Brexit negotiations. I grasped the opportunity to express my concern with the future stability for my generation in farming and the amount of opportunities we’re open to. 

My question was:  “As the youngest person in this room, my concerns lie with the future of agriculture; particularly for my generation. My great-grandfather was fortunate to live through an industrial revolution where he welcomed the change from literal horse-power, to machinery and tractors. In today’s modern society, we welcome the advancement in technology and the idea of (dare I say) robots. With that in mind, can you ensure my generation will receive sufficient support and financial investment in order to compete on a global scale and avoid the threat of our German neighbours beating us to the much needed technological, agricultural revolution.”


John Throup, North East

John, 32, manages a herd of 280 cows on the family’s mixed farming estate in Yorkshire. He completed a National Diploma in Agriculture. His future farming aspirations are to introduce a cross breeding programme and to move to a split block calving herd to make better use of grazed grass. John is a member of the Arla Next Generation Group and the LIC Grazing Group.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
I would encourage student farmers to get out and visit as many farms as possible to gain ideas and knowledge. There are lots of great farmers out there willing to share ideas.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
I'm looking forward to taking part in the show as it will be a once in a lifetime experience and a great opportunity to promote British farming, an industry I'm proud to be part of.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
We need to win the interest and opinion of consumers and show them why agriculture is important and why it’s important to support British farming

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
Can the NFU voluntary code of practice for milk contracts be made mandatory and government regulated?


Ryan Came-Johnson, South West, @Agro_RCJ

26-year-old Ryan Came-Johnson from Cornwall has 300 breeding ewes, supplying Cornish lambs direct to restaurants and the general public under the ‘The Cornish Lamb Co’ brand.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
Have your own plans and ideas and persevere with them but know when to ask for help and advice - and listen to that advice. Don't let anyone tell you it can’t be done, try it yourself but if it doesn't work, know when to stop!

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
It’ll be great being part of such a spectacle in our capital city - and helping to fly the flag for British farming and our future farmers.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
I think artificially inseminating pigs has to be up there with unusual activities.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
Encourage and help the next generation of British farmers as much as possible - get new entrants with new ideas and embrace the ideas.

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
Do you think EU subsidies help or hinder the progression (and ultimately profitability) of farming in the UK?


Tom Rees, Wales

Tom, 29, from Pembrokeshire farms cereal crops and is a member of the NFU Next Generation Policy Group and has completed the NFU Cereal Development programme. He also has a special interest in environmental developments.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
There is no other industry like ours. Be passionate about what you do it will rub off on the people around you and then things will happen. Be prepared to put the hours in but never be freighted to take a step back and ask yourself why are we doing this? Be bold in your ambition.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
The part of the parade that I'm most looking forward to is being able to portray the positive image of our industry. It’s so important that people outside of the industry know what a young vibrant industry we are. I'm looking forward to meeting people and letting them feel confident that when they buy British they buy the best.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
Being a farmer you can guarantee that no two days will be the same. But I think the strangest day for me was when a friend arrived at the farm, with an artist form Australia who wanted to take photos of rural charters in the UK to take home to paint. I think after that it became pretty clear that I have more of a face for radio! 

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
I strongly believe British agriculture has a bright future. Although I voted to remain in the EU I strongly believe in democracy and now that we are coming out I see many opportunities for British farming. We must stop seeing this as a challenge and make the most of the opportunities. I hope that as an industry we channel our energy in to opening trade deals worldwide. If we continue to show the quality of our products and innovate new ways to promote and develop these we will go from strength to strength. Too many in our industry are worrying about subsidies at the moment. If we can get the trade deals right the will become an irrelevance. The current CAP is just a weight around UK Ag's neck it gives nothing but bad press and stifles innovation. 

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
You've now had a couple of months to settle into your role and spend some time at agricultural shows and on farm. Moving into a post Brexit era we will all have to adapt our businesses to stay resilient, so if for a couple of minutes you could pretend to be Lord Digby-Jones for UK agriculture, give me your five business survival tips for UK farms to try and adopt?


Dom Bloxham, West Midlands, @Dom_Bloxham

Dom, 25, is a dairy farmer on the family farm in Staffordshire where there are 250 cattle, mostly Holsteins and Friesians. He has also diversified and grows 12 acres of pumpkins annually for the pick your own and wholesale markets.

What would be your one message of encouragement to student farmers starting out?
I believe that agriculture is the most exciting, ever-changing and rewarding industry to be involved in. It's hard work and sometimes sacrifices are made, however, the benefits to your whole life are endless and there are lots of opportunities to get that feel good factor. Work hard and make use of the older experienced heads around you in order to achieve in farming.

What are you most looking forward to being part of the parade?
I am most looking forward to showcasing the best of British farming in our nation’s capital city, to show the British public the origin of their Great British food.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done since being involved with farming?
In the UK, growing 10 acres of Pumpkins and manually picking up to 1500 Pumpkins a day for some of the wholesale orders. I have also spent time working on a huge mixed farm in New Zealand undertaking mustering and fencing jobs in some of the most difficult and awe-inspiring terrain imaginable.

How do we make British farming have a bright future?
To secure a bright future for British farming we need to educate the British public on the benefits of buying British food. Showcase the standards to which food is produced.

If you had one question you could ask Michael Gove, what would it be?
I would like to know how long this "period of uncertainty" is going to last for and when we will have some post-Brexit answers and plans.


Last edited on: 20:09:2017

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