Andy Smith

Lodge farm, T.H. & J.P. Case, Somerset

Andy Smith began his farming journey at the age of 22, completing at NDA at Sparsholt College before working as a shepherd in Hampshire, North Wales and Somerset where he now calls home.

He entered into a share farming agreement three years ago, after approaching a local businessman and landowner and in that time has built up what was a flock of 300 ewes to 1,000 as well as purchasing 20 pedigree South Devon cattle.

Stock was run over 140 hectares (350 acres) until recently when the pair won a tender for a FBT on a neighbouring 50 ha (120 acre farm).

Andy pinpoints a defining moment as losing his job, and tied house, three and a half years ago.

He says: “Jobless and about to be homeless, I decided that night that I was not going to work for somebody else again and wanted to start my own business.

“It started as contract shepherding, which led me to getting a bit of land which I reared ewe lambs on before coming across the opportunity to get into the agreement I am currently in.”

Education has also been an important part of the journey for Andy, which saw him return to Bridgewater and Taunton college in September 2018 to study an agricultural business degree.

“After I began working for myself, I soon learnt that although I knew a fair bit about looking after sheep, I knew very little about running a business.

“Managing the livestock alongside full-time study is not easy, but despite the challenges I have managed to achieve a first in every assignment to date.”

Andy’s aim now, he says, is to take on more land next year to begin growing cereals with the goal of one day building up enough collateral to buy his own farm.