Before COVID-19 shook the world, Meadow Quality’s Florence Giles (or Flo) visited Will Wakeman, a 30-year-old, third-generation producer from Bromsgrove. Will’s farms sheep and store lambs.
Will grew up around livestock, working on the family farm from a young age. The farm is steeped in history so, when asked about his childhood, he reminisced about memories made whilst mucking out the old pigsties (which are around 120 years old) and the stables where the workhorses were kept.
Will has been in the livestock industry since the age of 18, making his first purchase (30 4-year-old North Country Mules, in lamb) in the months before he was due to start his course at Harper Adams University. His first month on the course was somewhat disrupted when the lambs arrived, just 2 weeks after classes started. Although he started higher education at Harper Adams, Will changed course and finished his studies at the Royal Agricultural University and graduated with a first-class degree.
With around 200 acres, the store lambs help Will with the grass control over winter. Over the summer months, Will produces and rakes his own hay, last year harvesting around 400 acres. He is set up for mowing and raking up but outsources the baling to local contractors. Will’s top tip is to always make use of your local contractor!
Flo asked, “how has Meadow Quality helped you?” Will explained that John Powell (one of Meadow Quality’s expert Ruminant Fieldsmen) sourced a market and grade outlet for his store lambs. After several years of working together, Will has a strong working relationship with John. They often grade sheep together, whilst exchanging knowledge of industry developments.
When asked where he sees himself in five years’ time, Will said that a new farm would be of interest – expanding his producer abilities and livestock selection to beef, pigs and sheep.
Will truly believes that he has never worked a day in his life. “No doubt there are challenges in the industry”, he said, “paperwork and regulations being introduced by people that have never farmed for themselves are the real challenges. The ‘goal posts’ keep moving.”
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