“This is us. Farmer and Mrs Farmer – as we are known to our Facebook audience, less commonly known though, as Rach and Jakey – a young family of first-generation farmers starting from absolutely diddly-squat and attempting to build our farming business from the ground up.“
Having shared Rach and Jakey’s journey so far in our Autumn 2020 edition of In The Country, I have followed their progress with particular interest. Since we met and I was lucky enough to stay in the couple’s on-site holiday let, Jakey has achieved his childhood dream and bought a tractor, and Rach has launched her very own online membership community, described as a ‘friendly flock of first-time farmers’ – Our Farming Journey, and so it seemed only apt that now was a great time to share this piece digitally for the world to see and get behind! I’ll hand you back over to Rach.
Going back to where it all began…
Going back to where it all began in 2013, I was out with the girls and somehow managed to bump into a Luigi wearing, Thatchers drinking, gert farmer-boy in the middle of Exeter City Centre at 3am. We were both a few bevvys down at this point, so it was probably more accurately a loss of sufficient sight as opposed to love at first sight. From then, we were pretty much inseparable.
Farmer has always ‘farmered’ but for others, spending early mornings and late nights away from us to help build someone else’s dream. Fast forward a few years, I was sat on our sofa late one night with a gert brew waiting for Farmer to rock up from milking. He runs in, lobs a Farmers Weekly on my lap and tells me our lives are about to change. I sat, bolt upright stunned but intrigued.
What did he mean? Jakey had found what we’d been dreaming of; the opportunity to farm on our own account.
The next few months were filled with farm applications, business plans, an over reliance on caffeine in the day and grapes at night (obviously the fermented kind). During this time, we were still working our day jobs and focusing on keeping alive our junior farmer, whilst doing everything within our power to be able to call this farm our own for the next 7 years.
The interview was something else, I vividly remember it. We rocked up two hours early and spent the majority of said two hours absolutely cacking it in the car!
I still remember so clearly that all important, life-changing phone call – Farmer screamed, I cried, when we got that ‘yes’. The yes that Farmer had wanted ever since he had asked for his very own cow for Christmas at just three-years-old. This news meant that together, we had achieved our life ambition, our dream by just 28 years of age.
The next steps, we quit our jobs, packed our life into boxes, and moved from our little home in Somerset to our very own farm in South Devon. We arrived with nothing other than our suitcases and some money in the bank.
The few weeks that followed were spent working our wellies off to build our business from nought! We started off with our own herd of cattle. Attempting to navigate the busy livestock market with an excited Farmer was a pretty interesting experience, he was trying to bid on everything and I was doing my best to reign the cheeky bugger in, otherwise we’d have ended up with the entire market coming back to the farm with us. I’m going to add this life changing tip in right here – if he asks you to go grab him a brew whilst at market – don’t! He doesn’t want one, he blatantly just wants to nab every animal in sight whilst you’re away nabbing him a piping hot Tetley’s!
We have now expanded into sheep as well, A.K.A the woolly buggers. They do a pretty good job of keeping me on my toes (or more accurately, my backside on a pretty frequent basis).
We are also lucky to have a small holiday let business on the farm as well, which is an awesome example of diversification from the farm and it has enabled us to share our acres with some really lovely people from all over the world so far.
If you want to come and hang out with us, head over to our Facebook (which is where the main mob hang out) or Instagram at @OurFarmingJourney where we share with you the banter, tears, life lessons, challenges and laugh-until-your-tummy-hurts moments, as we chase our dream (and the bloody sheep), work hard to provide for our young family and create a bright future full of opportunities for our little girls.
We have been shocked and humbled at how our Facebook following has grown and continues to do so, at the time of writing this, unbelievably we’ve mustered over 18,500 (now over 21,000) people who’ve flocked to our page.
Right, I’m off now to make a gert brew, negotiate with mini farmers, drag Farmer away from hugging his cows and most likely attempt to retrieve half our flock of woolly buggers from the village green, wish me luck!