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. The farm consists of 272 acres (110 hectares) of predominantly pasture, with a few fields used to grow winter cattle feed.
The milk is sold to Long Clawson Dairy, a co-operative of 40 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 over the past 15 years has 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 and increased to two days in 2020, while continuing her work with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Ruth loves working with the animals 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 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.
Also works for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Previous media experience
BBC Radio Berkshire interview. Interview with BBC Radio Leicester and in Melton Times, local paper, about tree planting on the farm (February 2020).