Young Farmers profiles: Tom Baker

Tom Baker is a sprayer operator and also chairman of the Diss YFC.

Tom Baker is a sprayer operator and also chairman of the Diss YFC. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club (YFC) members, sprayer operator TOM BAKER talks about keeping crop pests and diseases under control on an estate near the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

I am current chairman of Diss Young Farmers Club (YFC) and I work for the an estate near Thetford on the Suffolk border – and I am extremely happy with both of these roles.

I have worked for the estate for two years now and one of my main jobs is as head sprayer operator.

A normal day starts with waking up at 6.30am and getting ready for work. If it is a YFC meeting days, I also try to arrange things I will need for the evening before I go, just in case I am late home.

I'll get to the yard for 7.30am. I am very fortunate to live on the estate so, it's only a two-minute journey. Once there, we are all given our jobs. At present we are preparing onion land with sub-soiling, ridging and de-stoning.

We have a got an array of different crops here from wheat, barley and sugar beet as well as potatoes, onions and our asparagus. It's a great variety, especially for me with the sprayer.

My work is extremely diverse on our 1,200-acre farm. Little jobs can crop up at any time; everything from estate maintenance to loading corn.

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I've enjoyed this year – following the potatoes from start to finish; setting, spraying for blight every 7-10 days, irrigation and finally lifting the finished crop.

I have also been cultivating, ploughing, lifting sugar beet and harvesting onions. No two days are the same, which is what I love.

I am a fourth-generation farmer, as is my brother. My great-grandfather, grandad and dad all worked on the same farm in Garboldisham and I grew up knowing this was what I wanted to do. My early years were spent riding in their tractors and helping out at weekends and I followed an apprenticeship scheme through Easton College, which started while I was still at Diss High School. I passed my tractor test on my 16th birthday.

I also joined Diss Young Farmers at the age of 16, and became part of the committee in my second year, helping with the socials. By the next year, I was secretary to the Club then looked after the Countrysiders interests for a year. I was vice chairman last year and now a very proud chairman, supported by an extremely hard-working committee. My future plans include being club leader next year and moving to the county committee.

I owe a lot to the Young Farmers. Without them, I wouldn't have so many of my closest friends, work contacts, knowledge and training. It was because of one of our fund-raising challenges that I got to visit France, Belgium and Holland. The feeling of accomplishment when completing a challenge, like skydiving, is only surpassed by the fact that we are raising money for all these good causes. I have also gained in confidence, through public speaking, networking and debating – and ultimately applying for the job that I now have and love.

Diss YFC meets at the Burston Pavilion on Wednesday evenings. For more information, contact the county office on 01603 731307.

PROFILE:

Name: Tom Baker

Age: 22

Occupation: Sprayer operator / farm worker

Location: Near Thetford, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border

YFC club: Diss (current chairman)

How long have you been a YFC member? Since 2009

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