Chloe Lucas

Chloe Lucas


Beef & dairy

BEEF CATTLE & DAIRY, ESSEX: Chloe entered farming recently – after watching Clarkson’s Farm on the television during lockdown – having previously worked as a paediatric nurse. She owns a small herd of Highland cattle which she keeps on Old Hall Marshes, an RSPB reserve in Maldon, Essex, that’s famed for its bearded tits. She also works part-time on a local dairy farm with around 125 Holstein Friesian milking cows.

One day Chloe would like to breed her Highland cattle and sell their meat locally. She’d also like to own a smallholding and run workshops to help the public understand where their food comes from and what is involved in the care of livestock. Another dream is to show her cattle.

It’s been a steep learning curve for Chloe since she switched from working full-time on a children’s ward in Basildon to working with cows. She made the move after suffering serious mental health issues as a result of being redeployed to her hospital’s adult intensive care unit during Covid. “Sadly many of the patients didn’t survive. I was off sick for three months having therapy and medicine to help me get better. But what actually got me better was being outdoors and in nature. I’m obsessed with cows. I watched Clarkson’s Farm believe it or not, and a week later I was at his Diddly Squat farmshop researching a career in agriculture.”

Four weeks later she landed a part-time job on a beef farm in Essex. To gain experience she also volunteered at private and commercial farms in Essex, Kent, Norfolk, and Devon. “I realised farming was what I wanted to do. Then, by chance, a farmer contacted me via Instagram and asked me if I’d like to keep Highland cattle on some land he was renting on an RSPB bird reserve on the Essex marshes. So I bought my herd. The cows graze outdoors all year, surviving purely on the marshy habitat’s diverse plants. They help keep the grass short, which creates ideal conditions for certain plants, and for ground-nesting birds.

Chloe still nurses part time. Many of her hospital colleagues, who have seen the beneficial effects that farming has had on Chloe’s health, now often help her care for her Highland cattle. In addition, runs educational workshops for primary schools in Barleylands Farm Park, and volunteers as a livestock checker for an RSPB reserve.

However, Chloe is aware of the barriers – mainly financial – facing people wanting to enter farming. “For new entrants, it can come down to financial pressures. I’d love to do something on a bigger scale but I don’t have the funds. Farming can also be quite a closed industry and difficult to get into. Being from a non-farming background I soon realised I wasn’t as useful as I thought, due to my lack of knowledge. So I volunteered on different farms and did a ten-week fast-track course in animal management, and hopefully I’m now much more useful at the dairy farm where I work. For example, I can now milk the cows and care for their calves on my own. With every day that passes, I feel I’m upskilling.”

Contact Chloe

Chloe loves spending time with her partner and two children, going to the theatre, wild swimming and reading. Another passion is, not surprisingly, eating! Her desert island supper would be beef ribs with barbecue sauce, side salad and spicy rice.