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Farming insider: Emma Foot, UK

About Emma

Emma belongs to the new generation of women-owned farms in the UK. The mother of a young daughter runs the family farm, founded in 1954, in partnership with her dad, Chris. Before that she studied food photography: "The combination of photography and farming is my passion."

Farm facts

Family owned since: 1954

Location: Bere Regis, Dorset, UK

Size of the Farm: about 500 acres arable farm

Crops: Among others, maize, wheat, barley, oilseedrape and oats.

Special features: Father and daughter run the traditional family business together.

It would be great if one day the sixth or seventh generation of our family runs the farm.
Emma F., Dorset/UK

Question time

Why did you choose the job here at Haywards Farm?

Even as a child I was involved in the daily work and often sat along on the passenger seat of the tractor. Later, I combined what I enjoy: photography and farming. During my A-levels, I photographed the farmers here. That opened my eyes and I thought, 'This is the life I love. I would take a day harvesting in the sunshine over a day at the beach every time!

What is it like to work in a family business?

I am proud to carry on our family business. My grandparents and my dad did a really good job. I am very lucky to have my dad. If I don't take my little daughter to work myself, he looks after her. Even on a bad day, it's nice to have your family.

What makes Haywards Farm special for you?

For me, Haywards Farm is so special because it is a generational farm. I like the fact that all of us in our family have worked the land here. We all have a story to tell about it that has been passed down through the generations.

What is it like to run a farm as a woman?

Most people treat you like everyone else. But there are still some who make old-fashioned comments. I just ignore them and go on to prove them wrong. I think it's nice that even in the male-dominated field of agriculture, the fact that women in leadership positions are becoming normal. I often have young girls and women message me via social media thanking me for the encouragement and inspiration I give them to continue because they are confronted with similar traditional ideas.

What agricultural challenges do you see for future generations?

We need to put more effort into sustainability worldwide. The increase in fertiliser and energy prices is already a big problem. To reduce our carbon footprint, we need to do something about it. This will be a challenge, that much is certain. In addition, we farmers will have fewer adequate harvests. But because we need the food, we will probably have to import more.

What do you wish for Haywards Farm?

I hope that the farm will always stay in the family. It would be great if one day the sixth or seventh generation of our family runs the farm. When you hear about other families who have passed their farms down from generation to generation, it's just an amazing feeling.

Paving the way. For a fruitful tomorrow.

Farm life is often characterized by family cohesion and traditions that have grown over decades. Around the world, many generations live and work on farms under one roof, and at some point the question of farm succession comes up. Our new Farmer Portraits focus on this generational change that many farmers are facing. Young and old alike - we visited farmers on their farms to have them tell us about their stories, their challenges and their hopes.

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Stephan Krings
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