DAIRY, SOMERSET: Sophie and her husband Tom are first generation organic dairy farmers with three young children. They farm about 900 acres on the Dorset / Devon / Somerset border in partnership with a business partner.
Sophie isn’t from a farming background and left her job in accountancy when she fell in love with cows. Tom’s family do farm but there’s no farm to take on, so the couple decided to start up on their own.
They milk 370 cows which calve in the spring and autumn, using a mixture of Friesians, Jerseys and Shorthorns bred for longevity, milk solids (fat and protein for cheese production) and their ability to convert grass into milk without needing lots of concentrated feed.
They sell their milk to Arla and as active Arla members get involved in anything from filming on the farm to talking to the public on Arla’s stand at Valley Fest. They hold school visits and take part in FarmerTime and Open Farm Sunday, the latter of which they held virtually during Covid.
Although the winter routine is their least favourite part of farming, it means the couple are always thrilled to get the cows back out again in the spring. And they simply love being in the outdoors, being around the animals and sharing their job with schoolchildren and the public.
Always looking at new ideas, they have some exciting projects coming up in 2022 including a conservation grazing venture and potential glamping.
“We are passionate about soil, wildlife and biodiversity, and are really excited about what the future of farming looks like,” says Sophie. “We would really love the opportunity to engage more with the general public about where their food comes from.”
Sophie feels that the organic message can be misunderstood sometimes. People think it’s an expensive swap when it can be one of the cheapest environmental steps they can take, and can offer something for those leaning towards to plant alternatives, she says. As someone who is committed to making space for nature she feels that the public are increasingly being drawn to the outside world, which can yield positive results for nature.
Sophie is on the elected board of representatives for Arla.
Interviewed by the local paper for Open Farm Sunday and featured on landlord’s television, and has been interviewed by Farmers Weekly Boots and Heels YouTube channel, BBC Radio Solent, Future Farm Podcast, The Buckinghamshire Herald and The Cattle Site.