Will’s family farmed before he was born and his father always worked in agriculture. He started an A-level course but, preferring the practical, outdoor life to an academic one, he took up a level-3 agriculture diploma instead, followed by an agriculture degree at Askham Bryan near York. Will is happy to admit that the degree was challenging at first, but he applied himself, enjoying the mix of practical and theoretical work, and it became a lot easier.
In particular, William found the business elements of the degree very beneficial and in his final year he worked with a business consultant on an application for a farm tenancy. He did not get the tenancy, but the experience was very useful, not least because the same consultant knows Rory Christie and that he is always looking out for great staff.
Will had around five years’ dairy experience on an indoor unit from his diploma and degree, however, he was interested in a new challenge. Since he came, he’s been managing a team alongside Jordan and working hands-on in the parlour and, importantly has been responsible for maintaining fences across the farm.
“Many of my activities at Dourie are new,” Will says. “At first I found it a bit daunting, but I shadowed the grass allocation manager, Chrissie, and after a few times spent on each task with her it was a lot easier.” He made a great effort to get to grips with calculating how much grass the cows need. “When you get thrown into something new it’s challenging, but the training I was given was good and helped me get through it,” he says.
Highlights of his time here have been working with outdoor cattle and with the team. “We’re a small team so you get to know everybody,” Will says. “The cows here are a completely different breed and the fact that they’re out on grass makes them a lot easier to manage; they’re less lazy because they have to get out to get their feet. They’re a lot more active, not just waiting for everything to come to them!”
Will believes he has really grown as a manager and learned a lot from Becca and Rory which will hopefully help in the long run. In particular his planning and communication skills have improved during his time with Becca and he has learned good leadership skills with Rory.
He expects to put these skills to good use sooner rather than later as he has enjoyed maintaining Dourie’s fences so much that he now plans to start his own business. He doubts that he would have gone down that road were it not for his time here (his original plan was to become a farm consultant) but he has learned that he would far rather spend his working life outside. “The people I have met here have been so helpful and my management skills will come in useful in future,” Will concludes.
Good luck Will!