DAIRY, LEICESTERSHIRE: Working on a family farm bought by her grandfather and great-grandfather in the 1950s, Ruth runs a closed herd (no animals are bought in from other herds) of 180 pedigree Holstein dairy cows in partnership with her parents. The farm consists of 272 acres (110 hectares) of pasture, where the cattle graze spring to early autumn. A few fields are used to grow feed for the late autumn and winter when the cows are brought indoors.
The milk is sold to Long Clawson Dairy, a co-operative of over 30 local farmers that produce award-winning Stilton cheese.
Growing up on the farm with two sisters, Ruth never intended to get involved with farming and for over 17 years worked in the environmental charity sector. However, she decided to study for an MBA in Advanced Farm Management at the Royal Agricultural University one day a week and came out with a distinction five years later, with the goal to work in the family business. In 2018 she started working on the farm one day a week, while also working for the Wildlife Trust movement. In 2023 Ruth began working as Farm Liaison and Sustainability Manager for Long Clawson dairy.
In November 2022 Ruth won a Nuffield Farming Scholarship. Thanks to scholarship from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, her Nuffield study project explores the relationship between dairy farmers and environmental organisations.
Ruth loves working with the cows and relishes combining this with doing something positive for the natural environment through land management. Her real driver is that she is part of something her parents and forebears have done, in a place in which she grew up - it’s in her blood.
Since starting on the farm she has realised just how varied the tasks are when running a modern farm, especially the business administration.
The family love the land and feel that they are custodians, doing what they can to look after wildlife.
Ruth wants to passionately voice the positives of the industry and feels it often gets a barrage of bad press, despite famers loving their animals and caring for the natural environment. She says it feels like a real smack in the teeth when friends pick up sensational negative headlines from the media and assume that they’re true.
However, she is also interested in improving animal welfare even further – especially with regard to calves – as well as lowering farming’s carbon footprint through reduced grain in feeds and cutting methane production.
Ruth has been interviewed by BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Leicester and has been featured in the Melton Times (local paper) about tree planting on her farm (February 2020). Since doing her Just Farmers training Ruth has been interviewed by Farmers Guardian, Farmers Weekly, NFU Countryside Magazine, NFU Food Report. She has appeared on radio with BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio 4 Farming Today, and television with BBC East Midlands Today. She also featured in a short video for a Wildlife Trust campaign.