Jordan hails from the North Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland where he has been involved in farming since he was very young. His grandfather’s family farm was sold just before Jordan was born, but the family always remained involved in agriculture so as soon as he was old enough he started to work on farms, milking cows and helping various people. He started with 50 cows, moved up to 200 and has kept progressing from that point.
When Jordan finished school, he started an agriculture degree at Harper Adams, during which time he spent a year at a very big dairy farm in Cheshire - with over 2000 cattle - increasing his interest in big-scale dairy farming.
Having always been interested in gathering a wide range of farm experience, however, Jordan decided to take on a harvest job in Suffolk when he graduated. He was offered a job on the farm and admits to being tempted by all the big machinery but when an opportunity arose to work at Dourie, he realised he missed working with cows and wanted to go back to grassland and dairy farming.
“Dourie sounded very interesting and unusual with its New-Zealand based system. I’ve worked with big herds before but only indoors so I thought it would be a good experience,” Jordan says.
His job has changed significantly from its original format. Jordan was taken on as deputy dairy manager, but the opportunity quickly arose to become dairy manager and he is now being trained into the role by existing dairy manager, Becca. “I’m nervous but excited,” Jordan says of the new role. “It’s a great opportunity for me, with a lot more responsibility and a lot more on my plate. I need to put the graft in, but I know that Rory will back me all the way.”
Staff at Dourie are encouraged not just to learn about hands-on farming but all aspects of the business, so when calving finished, Jordan was encouraged into the office to help with record-keeping. “I’ve learned so much so far, really something new every day, and a lot about the management side of things, which is all new to me as I had only ever been a worker before,” Jordan says.
“I’ve also learned a lot more about the grazing system, which emphasises low input and getting the most out of the resources available. We use Jersey X Holstein cattle which, while they are smaller than regular Holsteins and don’t produce so much milk, are harder and produce higher fat, better quality milk,” Jordan says. “I’m also learning about grass-management and measuring, which is a skill that few people in the UK can do. Farms in Scotland are much more business-focused.”
Jordan is also enjoying learning about maintaining the parlours and healthy block-calving. “Everything I’ve learned, big or small, helps some way or another,” Jordan says. “I’m proud to have worked on such a large number of farms and I have experienced lots of different types of systems. Rory always likes suggestions and is very open-minded to learning new things himself.”
He’s happy with what he’s doing just now but would like to become dairy manager, eventually farm manager and ideally have his own farm one day.