Young Farmers profile: How Steven Britton of North Elmham YFC was 'gripped' by the demands of dairy farming
PUBLISHED: 09:07 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:18 25 October 2018
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club members, 27-year-old STEVEN BRITTON explains why he was drawn to the demanding world of dairy farming.
I started working on the family farm the afternoon I finished my final GCSE. It was all I wanted to do, really.
In all truth I started working on the farm from the age of 10, feeding calves on weekend mornings and at holidays, and eventually doing tractor work, topping fields and rolling meadows.
It was the feeling of responsibility to do an honest job and having to be dedicated to the welfare of the stock in my care that really gripped me and drew me in from a young age – skills that I’ve been able to transfer over to Young Farmers when needed.
My day starts around 6am religiously with the morning milking, followed by feeding any newborn calves. Mid day has been filled recently with tasks ranging from fencing repairs to general animal husbandry – mucking out sheds seems to be a rather popular activity at the moment.
Afternoons are spent bedding up yards and feeding the cows and calves their PM feed. The day usually ends with the night check, making sure all animals aren’t attempting a grand escape nor any soon-to-be-mother cows are in any difficulty.
There’s no set time for this, could be 10pm, maybe 3am. It depends on if I’ve gone out and what time I’m home... or if I’ve fallen asleep in the chair again. YFC has been a saviour for myself. Having never gone to college and many of my mates disappearing to university, it gave me the chance to make new friends, but also reignite old friendships that were once strong but had faded with parting ways.
Needless to say, because of YFC I now have friends all over Norfolk and across the country that will be lifelong, and have already got many tales to tell. Where else could you meet a sparky, a mechanic, farmers and structural engineers, beauticians, equestrians all under the same roof and all sharing the same goal within the organisation? You truly don’t have to be a farmer to be in Young Farmers.
YFC has also offered me many training opportunities. Last year I completed a farm tenancy course, doing budgets and business planning and treasurer training to understand how accountancy works. I also hope to take my trailer test at long last through the Norfolk YFC organisation – if I can get that one day off.
It’s not just the courses, though, where you learn. Public speaking events have given me much more confidence to speak my opinion. Sure, I still shake like a leaf in a gale but my voice now come across loud and clear because of YFC.
Hockey and other team sports offers everyone the chance to take on a leadership role and learn new skills. The ability to lift people’s heads and keep them going even when you’ve been pulled through the mud seven times already at Tug of War, knowing it’ll happen again, only comes with the environment YFC offers it’s members.
I’m most looking forward to hockey and the Rally day this year with North Elmham YFC. Those days where there’s a break from work, competing at sporting events with a competitive but friendly environment against everyone else in Norfolk is what it’s all about for me.
Name: Steven Britton
Occupation : Dairy farmer
YFC Club: North Elmham
How long have you been a YFC member?: 7 years
• North Elmham YFC meets on Wednesday evenings at the Railway Arms, North Elmham. October 31 is the club’s Halloween-themed new members’ night for anyone interested, aged 16 to 26. More information is on the club’s Facebook page. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.