Young Farmers profiles: Katherine Ridley, 22, is helping keep the region's soil fertile
PUBLISHED: 10:44 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 April 2019
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club members, 22-year-old KATHERINE RIDLEY explains how her career plans changed when she started learning about agriculture.
I spent most of my younger days at school in Suffolk. I attended Brandeston Hall and Framlingham College, then left school at 16 and went on to study animal management at Easton and Otley College in Norwich.
I had a dream of being a vet at the time, but things soon changed when I started learning about the agricultural industry.
After this I went on to study a foundation degree in agriculture and farm management at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester for two years and, while I was there, I spent the summer grain sampling for Gleadell.
From then on, I knew I wanted to go into agriculture but what part I wasn’t sure. I did the usual odd jobs to fill my time, which included lambing and turkeys at Christmas, before I was offered a job.
I now work full-time for Needham Chalks (HAM) Ltd and going into my third year with the company. I first joined in 2017 as an apprentice while studying a Level 3 business administration diploma at the same time, which I am now coming to the end of.
My role includes GPS soil sampling and analysis across Norfolk and Suffolk. From this, I provide farmers with lime and fertiliser recommendations for a range of different crops.
My role currently involves a lot of cold calling and networking to gain new business in the area, as well as looking after my current customers. We undertake soil sampling throughout the year with a busy spreading time after harvest once the crops come off the field.
I have been a Harleston Young Farmer for five years and I am currently on the committee as sports secretary. I really enjoy it and it is such a good way of meeting new people. I have met a great group of friends since joining. In April I, along with nine others for Harleston YFC, are cycling 160 miles across two days from the YFC national head office in Coventry back to Harleston, raising money for Marie Curie.
Name: Katherine Ridley
Location: Needham Market
YFC club: Harleston
How long have you been a YFC member?: Five years
• Harleston YFC meets at the clubhouse on Spirketts Lane on Wednesday evenings. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.