Hallam Duckworth graduated from Harper Adams University with a degree in agriculture and an ambition to own his own farm one day, but in the meantime he’s one of the first young farmers to gain hands on experience here at FarmED.
Hallam does not come from a farming background but grew up a few miles from FarmED, in the village of Chadlington, and while at school, he worked for a livery yard. He became increasingly involved in the farming side of the business, which inspired him to go on to study agriculture. His degree involved a one year placement at a beef farm near Milton Keynes and his first full time job was on a dairy farm in Berkshire, where he worked for a year, before moving back home to work with a local farmer during lambing.
Hallam started working at Honeydale Farm a year ago, on the day that construction began on the new FarmED buildings. His variety of tasks have included fencing for sheep, planting trees, cultivating, and drilling. His main interests are livestock, and he finds the diverse forage crops and rotation at FarmED particularly interesting.
‘Farmers have to start looking at sustainability,’ he says. ‘Too many young farmers just do what their fathers have done and things need to change. If I had my own farm, I’d want it to be self sufficient, without the need for inputs and reliance on subsidies.’
But Hallam shares the frustration of many young, first generation farmers who struggle with access to land. This is one of the issues that FarmED aims to address, providing facilities and encouragement to new entrants in farming by providing opportunities to establish micro businesses in order to gain knowledge and experience and a foothold, which will enable them to progress onto bigger projects.
‘I think it’s important to take every opportunity and to work hard,’ he says. ‘FarmED is so inspiring. There’s enormous potential to teach people about food production and farming and it’s exciting to be part of that.’