Young Farmers profiles: Michael Pearson
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club (YFC) members, farm worker MICHAEL PEARSON talks about a career inspired by family tradition.
My passion for farming began with my step-father, working on the farm which he manages. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to see him at work on the tractors and have always been keen to have a go. I have learned so much from him over the years, ranging from how to set up and service equipment such as tractors, ploughs, drills to combines. He is the reason I became involved in this amazing industry.
I have worked for John Bateman and Sons on a 1,400 acre cereal and root crop farm for four years. My main jobs are ploughing, cultivating, relief drilling and fertiliser applicator, alongside the fun long nights on a trailer during harvest.
My interest in farming led me to become a member of Terrington Young Farmers, which has a deeper side than I ever thought. You have the weekly meetings but there is also the committee helping to keep the club running – deciding what the meetings are, organising dinner dances, and assembling teams to compete in competitions across Norfolk. There is a massive social community to it but one of the key initiatives is the charity fund-raising, so I wanted to get stuck in as soon as I could.
In my first year, I was in charge of a project to present a farming-themed game at the Royal Norfolk Show, resulting in 'Grain Shoots and Loaders'. I am now the joint programme secretary with Hayley Smith, and together we put together this year's 24-hour Ploughathon at Bateman Farms, which is our biggest fund-raiser of the year. We ploughed 64 acres and raised more than £600 for our two chosen charities, East Anglian Air Ambulance and Headway.
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I'm hoping in a few years to become the chair of the club, and I am also a club leader for the Countrysiders which is the YFC's younger group.
The skills I have gained are extremely valuable to me on a personal level. My confidence has gone through the roof – for example I have always struggled with public speaking but for one of our recent meetings I delivered a guided tour with both the Young Farmers and Countrysiders, and didn't feel nervous at all. I have gained an understanding of how to organize major events such as our annual dinner dance which we catered for around 120 people.
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But the one major thing that I have taken from young farmers is the lifelong friends I have made.
Name: Michael Pearson
Occupation: General farm worker
Location: Bateman Farms in West Walton, near Wisbech
YFC club: Terrington Young Farmers
How long have you been a YFC member?: Two years
Terrington YFC meets at Jephson Hall in Walpole Cross Keys on Tuesday evenings. For more information, contact the county office on 01603 731307.