‘Nobody ever said to us: ‘You should be a farmer’’

Liam Robinson of Rattlerow Farms Ltd near Eye Picture: JOHN NICE

Liam Robinson of Rattlerow Farms Ltd near Eye Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: Archant

Farming is more than a job, says award-winning pig farming apprentice Liam Robinson.

Liam, 17, had no previous farming experience when he started his apprenticeship pig farming operation Rattlerow Farms, near Eye, which employs 130 staff.

He went straight from school onto an apprenticeship with Easton and Otley College, and quickly made a positive impression, scooping the Suffolk Agricultural Apprentice of the Year title jointly with George Leonard, of Home Farm Nacton.

Both were presented with their awards at this year's Suffolk Show. Liam believes that schoolchildren should be given more of an insight into careers like his.

"More needs to be done at school. Nothing was ever said about farming when I went to school even though we were surrounded by farms. It was never on the radar. It was all: 'You should be a lawyer or a doctor' - but nobody ever said: 'You should be a farmer'," he says.

"I always say to my friends that they should try it but they never seem to see the appeal.

"I think people need to get out and try different things. Once you try out farming I'd say that it's a whole different story."

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He loves working with animals - but the least favourite part of his job is mucking out the animals, he admits.

"I'm a pig stockman and I've been in post around a year. I get involved in feeding, vaccinations, farm maintenance - all sorts.

"I like working with animals and I get lots of job satisfaction from this. I went straight from school and it appealed to me and I've enjoyed it."

Farming is a lifestyle, he says. "Farming is more than a job. In my case you get to work with animals and I think if people did try farming for the first time, they would get more out of it than they had perhaps realised."

The younger generation will bring a new approach to the industry, and Liam's hope is that more young people will get involved in the fast-evolving industry.

"I think it will only get better as time goes on and hopefully more young people will get into it," he says.

One day, Liam would like to manage a pig unit. He wants to gain "lots more experience" and is "quite optimistic" about the future.

Brexit will have an effect, but he is not sure what it will be. "Overall, I think it will all even itself out in the end." he says.