My online Agricultural College…

My online Agricultural College…

Oh Hi! It’s my first blog in a little while…first of 2018 in fact – better make it good…no pressure then!

So I’m going to be a bit serious in this one. I want to talk a bit about the internet today – and how ruddy lucky we all are that in order to find out things, we don’t have to go and root around in a dusty old encyclopedia or load up a CDROM of Encarter 96′ we simply get out our phones and ‘google it’.

We live in a day and age that you can learn to do almost anything from the internet, whether it be from YouTube, a podcast or a blog. Knowledge is at our fingertips (I was going to say at ‘the click of a button’ but that’s so 2010 – it’s all about touchscreen these days isn’t it?!). All you have to have is access to the internet and a hunger to learn. And I certainly have that. Over the past few months especially, I have used the internet as my very own ‘Agricultural College’ alongside actually working on the farm. Listening to podcasts, reading relevant blogs and following key twitter accounts. I’ve also been really immersing myself in farming publications and trying to gain a broad understanding of the new world I live in! I really have set upon transforming myself into an all absorbing, question bombarding sponge (poor Andy).

We live in a day and age that you can learn to do almost anything from the internet, whether it be from YouTube, a podcast or a blog.

In 2018 as I go into my second year of being a full time farmer, I have more time to actually take a step back from the ‘everyday side’ of farming (ie. last year I was just happy to have made it through the day without accidentally killing myself, or Andy…or the dogs…or sheep – basically, if everyone survived the day I was happy enough!). We did so much groundwork last year (have I mentioned that we have done 15,000 metres of fencing!?), that this year it has given me a bit more time to actually learn a bit more about the bigger agricultural picture. It’s helped that I made it onto the ‘Tesco Future Farmer Foundation Course’ – a year of workshops, supply chain visits and meeting a group of 50 positive, young and progressive farmers! On a side note, I met all of the other candidates last week and they are all super inspiring – I’m hoping that I can learn lots literally just from talking to all of them!

So yes, back to the whole internet education thing. I’ve made it my mission lately that my evenings are spent immersing myself in farming publications, blogs, Twitter and podcasts and its been amazing just how much I’ve actually learn’t. I mean, I’ve started to form valid opinions on farming, oh and not to mention that I actually understand what the hell the Archers storylines are about! “Herbal leys – sure I’ll talk to you about them…” “the glyphosphate debate…okay, hit me!”.

My point is, aren’t we lucky – we’re living in a time where we can self teach just about anything from having all the information readily available. I’m not saying that they’re aren’t downsides of course – but for someone who lives in the middle of nowhere who doesn’t see many people on a day-to-day basis its really nice to feel so connected to the outside world, whether it be through social media or Whatsapp!

My ‘lecturers’:
  1. The BBC Farming Today Programme – On every weekend on Radio 4, but also downloadable as a podcast. A weekly programme dedicated to visiting different farms around the UK, its a lovely gentle listen!
  2. The Farmers Weekly/Farmers Guardian – two farming publications that come out every Friday (also available online). A weekly run down of hot farming topics, markets and farm life.
  3. Rock and Roll Farming – A weekly podcast by a farmer called Will Evans. The tag line is ‘Wanna get to know the people who produce the food that you eat? Step this way, and welcome to Rock & Roll farming..’. Its just a very relaxed and chatty podcast and usually interviews a different person within Agriculture each week.
  4. Anything that Gareth Rhys Thomas tweets – just follow him, his lovely positive and passionate tweets will make your feed better!
  5. A Shepherds Life by James Rebanks – An evocative and stunning account of what its like to be a shepherd in the Lake District.
  6. The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen – Making me feel really inadequate as I struggle with 3 dogs, let alone with 9 children in tow!
  7. Countryfile – I mean, it doesn’t really need an explanation does it!
  8. The Ethical Carnivore by Louise Gray – So interesting – just one chapter in and I’m hooked.
  9. Speaking to farmers themselves – there is nothing more valuable than being able to talk to farmers old and new about the industry. My new years resolution is to get off the farm and go to as many talks, groups and fairs as possible to try to expand my knowledge pool!

I hope that wasn’t TOO ‘farmy’ for you all – I know this a bit different to what I normally post, so any feedback would be much appreciated.




  1. Chelsey
    28th January 2018 / 6:50 pm

    Thank you SO SO much for sharing this! After working an office job for the last five years after college, evaluating the direction I want my life to go in, and looking at what brings me joy/makes me passionate I have decided my goal is to eventually quit my job and start a farm. Obviously farming is something that involves great time and financial investment so in an effort to make sure it’s the right decision I’m trying to immerse myself in it as much as possible, which right now involves a lot of reading. These resources will definitely be added to my list!! My hope is to get joined up with a local farmer as a volunteer to gain some hands on experience, but if you have other tips I would love to hear them!

    • Laura (Girl About the Farm)
      28th January 2018 / 9:47 pm

      So lovely to hear Chelsey! And glad you liked the recommendations! It’s amazing how much you can learn from snippets and articles on the internet! I’m sure any farm would jump at the chance to have you as a volunteer! Xxxx

  2. 2nd February 2018 / 10:50 am

    Great post 😀 I keep up to date with a lot of these, but there are a few I hadn’t heard about. So thank you. The internet is a wonderful place – Love finding like-minded people (just like you!)

    You might be interested in the programme I work on – it’s called ‘Ffermio’ which is Welsh for Farming. It’s like Countryfile, but more ‘farmery’ rather than ‘countrysidey’! You can watch it with subtitles, here’s the link if you want it 🙂

    Hope lambing prep’s going well 🙂

    Angharad xx

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