Shepherdess Rachel heads to Brisbane for conference

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Rachel Fife is to represent the Glendale Agricultural Society at the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Conference at Brisbane in October.

The 24-year-old farmer’s daughter of Coldrife Farm, near Chathill, will attend the summit as a ‘Next Generation’ delegate.

Rachel said: “It’s very exciting. I read an article and at the end it said the society was looking for someone to go to Australia. I thought I’m going to apply for it, what’s to lose? I was completely shocked when I got it.

“I’m excited to see the different types of farming across there. Australia is large scale farming compared to us here. There are five days of farm tours and that will be amazing; the whole experience is going to be amazing.

“This really is an opportunity of a lifetime for me: the knowledge that will be available to me at the conference will go a long way in helping me achieve my overall aim to start up my own farming business breeding pedigree Suffolks.

“I am very interested in learning about new ideas and techniques that can help the farming industry, and I am really looking forward to getting an in depth look at the issues facing primary production in South-East Queensland in the farming and agriculture industry.”

A former pupil of The Duchess High School, Rachel has always wanted to farm and currently looks after the family’s 400 ewe flock as well as taking care of all the farm paper work. She has Texels, Suffolks and Mules running on half of the 650-acre farm, with the rest given to wheat, barley and oilseed rape.

Rachel also works at Northumbrian Quality Feeds and is a self-employed contract shepherd during the summer months.

The young farmer spent three months travelling and working in New Zealand just after her 21st birthday. She worked in shearing sheds, grading the wool as it was being clipped, penning sheep and pressing wool, near Dunedin in the South Island. She said: “I really love being in the sheep pens. There’s nothing better than getting up in the morning, knowing you are going to be outside all day. I love sheep and I have the temperament and patience for working with them.”

GAS’ Simon Orpwood, a Royal Commonwealth Agricultural Society trustee, said: “Rachel has agriculture in her blood; we were looking for someone with an abundance of enthusiasm and an interest in the agriculture sector, and Rachel was the ideal person. The society wish Rachel all the best on her travels to Australia.”

The society has contributed £500 toward Rachel’s trip and is looking to secure further funding to cover some of the trip costs.

The RASC Next Generation scheme looks for candidates under the age of 40 with an involvement in agriculture who also have the potential to contribute to the long term face of agriculture in the region, the country and the Commonwealth.

For more information on the RASC Commonwealth Agricultural Conference visit http://www.rna.org.au/rasc.aspx.