James and Emma Edwards

Having recognised the barriers to new entrants trying to get on the farming ladder in Wales, James saw Hampshire as a land of new opportunity. Fast forward 12 years and he now runs his own flock of 1,200 high-index Exlana maternal ewes and Charmoise terminal ewes, with a focus on regenerative agriculture. Alongside his own flock, James fattens tack sheep, store lambs and draft ewes over winter, as well as contract farming up to 700 cattle, running a contract tailing gang and farming 4,000 wool-shedding ewes in partnership with a farm in Shropshire. With the constant challenge of land access, James has faced his fair share of obstacles but his resilience and passion for the industry has seen him bounce back, driving him forward to the end goal of buying his own farm. “I love agriculture and I love farming sheep,” he says. “Ultimately, I want to build a sustainable business, buy my own farm and give my children the chance to get on in life.”

After buying the field in Wales where his farming journey began, James now rents the land to a couple who are just starting to build their own flock of sheep. “As new entrants, we should have the opportunity to have the security of being able to farm without possibility of it being taken away.”

Plans for the future

Continue the farming partnership in Shropshire
Keep increasing sheep numbers
Develop the integration of regenerative farming practices into arable operations
Focus on more formal performance recording of his own sheep flock to gain the premium found in selling breeding stock