Jack Marlow

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Assistant farm manager Jack Marlow is part of a small team which runs the college farms livestock and arable systems, while tailoring the calendar around the students’ learning experience.   

Jack is responsible for changing from stabiliser cattle to pedigree Limousins, while they are pushing their Green Gene trait to track the college’s carbon footprint.    

“We have teamed up with the society to recruit the next generation, to establish young breeder initiatives and drive forward the efficiency of the herd,” he says. 

Strongly supporting the curriculum, he runs 17 hours a week tutoring the students around machinery and arable and has received extremely positive feedback via a survey about their teaching experiences. He has worked to improve the arable yields over the past two years through better soil management, appropriate crop rotations and operation timings.   

“I find the lecturing extremely rewarding. It was only meant to be a temporary post, however it had helped me develop personally, which I would like to qualifications for the leadership side. It helps me connect with the students and help provide them what they feel is a valuable student experience,” he adds. 

Jack helps to run a focus group for local farmers to share knowledge and attends multiple continued professional development events, working closely with the Limousin Cattle Society and regenerative specialists. His vision is for the college to become a centre of excellence and he hopes his work will contribute to this.    

“I want fellow farmers to lean on the college for good practice. I studied the college and now work here, I want people to see what a value place this is,” says Jack. 

Facts

  • Jack works on-farm as well as lecturing to students
  • He is at the forefront of the five-year herd plan to drive forward the beef system
  • Jack is responsible for the 283 hectares (700 acres) of arable on the farm
  • He welcomes the chance to trial different ideas to benefit the farm and the colleges students. 

What the Judges said

Strategic mindset. Improve the college, students and his own career. Aiming for a centre of excellence. Takes challenges head on, been teaching for a year after 2 weeks cover.


Sam Mosford

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Losing your farm and pedigree milking herd would be enough to take many out of the industry, but Sam Mosford saw this as an opportunity and took on a Cheshire dairy farm and has not looked back.   

“Selling the herd was one of the hardest experience of my life, but the opportunity to work here has been a silver lining to the situation,” he says. 

Sam joined in 2016 and has worked up to become the herd manager, overseeing a small team and transitioning the cows into a new robotic milking system, which now comprises five machines.  

Sam admits the transition to robots were challenging, but over time the cows have adapted well.  

Alongside these runs an automatic feeding system, two slurry vacums and an automatic calf feeder.  

He adds: “We are always looking to improve efficacy and we want to use technology where we can to make the herd better in every aspect.” 

His natural stockmanship has shone through and increased the cow’s milk production by 4,000 litres. He has improved various aspects of the herd health, including their fertility rate by 10 per cent in only two years working closely with their local vet.   

“I like to work closely with our vet. Animal health is at the front of our herd and I see opportunities in team work to discuss issues that we may have and work them out to improve,” he says.  

Sam’s passion for pedigree cattle is clear, and he has led the herd to win numerous awards through the local and national Holstein clubs, while building up the herd reputation hosting events.  

Sam believes that work-life balance is important to the employees he manages, and he organises staff to benefit both workman and the cows.  

 Fact box

  • Sam moved to the farm seven years ago
  • He has a passion for pedigree Holsteins
  • He has grown a relationship with Holstein UK hosting regional events
  • Herd health is at the forefront on the herd

Nick Tucker

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After joining the team 14 years ago, Nick soon took up the role of herd manager and was responsible for developing a new dairy unit situated within Dartmoor National Park.   

“I am lucky to work with a forward thinking and reliable team. My time at the farm has seen my role grow to manage a team which I see as an opportunity to bring new people into the industry or into new areas of agriculture,” says Nick. 

He has encouraged young people onto the team, regardless of experience or gender. He looks at the task done, not who carries it out.  

Achieving excellent yields, milk quality and animal welfare, he has a key focus on herd health which he believes ultimately contributes to a profitable and successful business, allowing expansion and progression.   

He is also interested in developing new projects to increase herd numbers and is adopting regenerative practices with mixed swards, soil health and reduced cultivations. Nick has led a team to design and build cost-effective milking and housing infrastructure for the farm, alongside his normal duties.   

A simple but practical system is what Nick likes in day-to-day work. This allows the whole team to carry out tasks easily and to improve parts of the system when needed.  

He is a member of several discussion groups to share knowledge and enjoys engaging with the public during farm visits. 

“Over the years, I have spent a lot of time learning new skills and training so at this point in my work I look at expanding my knowledge into new farming practices which will benefit the farm,” he adds. 

Fact box

  • Nick has shown loyalty, working on the farm for 14 years.
  • He encourages diversity in team and helps people get into agriculture
  • A perfectionist, he sees new farm projects as a chance to improve
  • He is always looking forward to benefit the farming system 

 


Holly Atkinson

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Holly Atkinson started her career in agriculture as a farm vet, despite not coming from a farming background. However, a change in career path has still allowed her to apply her previous skills in her day-to-day work.  

Holly is now based on a seven-site organic dairy unit in South Devon, working as part of a large team and helping manage the youngstock with the farm manager and farm owner.   

Together with the team, Holly has anticipated various changes on the farm which have raised herd health and promoted efficiency.   

“When I joined the team, we set out protocols that would benefit the whole team and be functional on farm,” she says.  

“We targeted calf health and have dramatically reduced the cases of pneumonia that have been seen on farm.” 

Despite farming on a large scale, Holly explains they have made gradual changes to the system to ensure that they are financially viable and effective.  

Steering the ship, Holly says: “I share a vision with team members to push forward the farm so it can be the best version of itself. We are always looking forward.” 

Mental health  

Holly does not only have the welfare of animals in mind, she has also trained as a mental health first aider to promote mental health with her colleagues. But this has not stopped at the farmyard, carrying on her work on social media through her page where she shares her drawings, all while being a mum of two.  

“I think mental wellbeing is just as important as physical. With my ‘Face Your Thoughts’ work, I want to help people form relationships, and support their mental health.  

“The incitive is used both on the farm and in the wider community and I hope it will also enable people to help others,” she adds. 

 Facts

  • Holly is a fully qualified vet
  • She has a long-term vision for her career in farming
  • Juggling her work, Holly is also a working mum
  • CupsOnCows and face_your_thoughts, her social media accounts promote her work as a mental health first aider 

What the Judges said

Goes above and beyond, implemented change and followed through with it. Influential and inspiring, on and off farm. Looks at health and well being whilst being commercially viable. Leading the way for change. ‘Superwoman’