Rebecca Wilson: ‘It is a privilege to assist feed the nation’


When Rebecca Wilson graduated, a whole lot of her mates headed to London for jobs and she or he questioned if she also needs to observe that route.

“Thank goodness I didn’t,” says the 26-year-old farmer’s daughter from North Yorkshire, who left Cambridge in 2016 with a human, social and political sciences diploma.

“The farm and Yorkshire have been the place, deep down, I knew I in the end needed to be.”

See additionally: Lucy Nott – consuming British solely is a tricky problem

So she headed to the Royal Agricultural College for a one-year property administration course to “get her eye again into ag” then had spells working for a surveying agency specialising in utilities and a poultry tools firm.

However Yorkshire and a extra hands-on function within the 260ha household enterprise was calling and, as so typically occurs, destiny had a hand in occasions.

“I’d all the time liked serving to out at evenings and weekends, however my dad was ailing and had a spell when he couldn’t drive, so we reached a pinch-point final harvest.

The choices have been both to get somebody in or for my sister, Rosie, or me to assist. I got here again and don’t assume I’ll ever go away now. Fortunately, Dad is properly now, so each cloud does have a silver lining.”

Rebecca says she accepts you don’t go into farming for the cash, however for the lifestyle. “There are stresses, but it surely’s an actual privilege to have the ability to feed the nation and affect how meals is produced.”

The fifth-generation farmer highlights how the household attempt to keep away from ploughing, preferring to drill into stubble to enhance soil well being and scale back emissions.

“My mother and father have all the time been forward-thinking, so I’ve been very fortunate to have been introduced up round that mindset.”

Her motivation for making use of for the NFU’s Pupil and Younger Farmer Ambassador programme was a want to speak farming messages in a transparent and easy method.

“Generally farmers converse in riddles and the general public typically can’t get solutions to their questions by googling them.

I would like the general public to really feel a connection to farming and meals, and so we have now to clarify about our high quality and welfare requirements, plus our carbon-neutral aspirations.”

Her strategy, she says, is to be clear. “There are a lot of nice days once you do that job, however some garbage ones as properly. It’s essential we don’t present unrealistic, utopian impressions, as a result of it’s not all sunrises and freshly bedded pens 24/7.”

This want to unfold the phrase can also be behind her involvement in Boots and Heels, the Farmers Weekly podcast she co-presents with group editor Lizzie McLaughlin. With Lizzie not from a farming background, the pair make an ideal double act, taking farming tales to a brand new viewers, in addition to to the agricultural group.

“I met a number of folks at Cambridge who weren’t from a farming background and I discovered that generally you do have to face up for the belongings you really feel strongly about.

“There have been folks from all around the world there, learning all kinds of topics, and my course undoubtedly made me extra on the planet round me when it comes to every little thing from anthropology to worldwide relations.

Tutorial intelligence

“There’s nonetheless a stereotype that it’s solely individuals who spend all their time at college within the library who go to Oxford and Cambridge, however I don’t take into account myself to be like that – and it was a tremendous expertise.”

Rebecca thinks educational intelligence is commonly undervalued in agriculture, however the business wants newcomers with experience in so many alternative areas – every little thing from science to advertising and marketing – so careers advisers needs to be pointing extra high-performers at college in the direction of agriculture.

“We additionally have to be embracing variety extra, as a result of completely different folks convey completely different ability units and views.”

A supply of frustration for her is that the lack of understanding about farming generally seen among the many common public is echoed at authorities degree.

Whether or not it’s the brand new muckspreading guidelines below the Farming Guidelines for Water laws or the drive for rewilding, there isn’t sufficient emphasis on the significance of meals manufacturing. “Firstly, we want meals.”

No gender divide

She is requested rather a lot about being a feminine farmer, however reckons she’s fortunate in that gender divides haven’t been a problem in her household as a result of the farm got here down the maternal aspect and her mum’s all the time been actively concerned, each in a hands-on capability and when it comes to administration and technique.

“Often, if folks see me getting on the loader or driving a tractor with an enormous little bit of package on the again, you may see them considering; Can she try this? So I see it as a possibility to show folks mistaken.

“There are most likely some issues I can’t do all that rapidly, however I’ll nonetheless get them finished and the explanation I would take barely longer than needed isn’t as a result of I’m feminine, it’s as a result of I haven’t been again on the farm full time for very lengthy but.

“Give me a yr or two and I’ll give all the blokes I do know at Younger Farmers a run for his or her cash.”

In regards to the Ambassadors

Now in its third yr, the NFU Pupil and Younger Farmers Ambassador programme provides a bunch of eight to 12 folks an opportunity to signify the NFU and the subsequent era by way of a year-long sequence of occasions and experiences.

It’s an ideal alternative to community and to place their stamp on the way forward for British farming.


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