Young Farmers profile: How 16-year-old Poppy Sleightholme helped start a water buffalo herd
PUBLISHED: 12:19 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:06 07 February 2020
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club members, 16-year-old livestock farmer Poppy Sleightholme explains how she helped set up her family's water buffalo herd.
I am a livestock farmer living on the Elveden Estate with my parents, as well as studying motor mechanics at West Suffolk College. We farm around 1,500 hectares of land around the Norfolk/Suffolk border keeping around 3,200 breeding ewes and 1,000 cattle.
I turned 16 last July, and promptly took and passed my tractor test allowing me to do more jobs on and off the farm.
In the last two years my family has started a herd of 150 water buffalo. Our aim for the future is running a burger van at local shows and events, naming the business Break Land Buffalo. My siblings and I have all had a lot of input into the business ideas, such as creating the website, logo and name.
With all that I can learn through Young Farmers' Club (YFC) talks and tours, I can have a better understanding of how businesses work and bring this back to the family farm.
I am a member of Diss YFC, who have welcomed me with open arms and I am loving it. Previously, while attending King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds, I was a member of Lark Valley YFC in Suffolk from the age of 12 for two years. This junior YFC helped build my confidence, especially because not everyone who was in Lark Valley was from the farming community and this made it more fun as everyone brought something different, much like Diss YFC.
My favourite part of YFC is being able to show and stock-judge animals, which I still do today - showing at the Royal Norfolk and Royal Welsh shows. YFC, along with school, also gave me a love for sport. When competing at the summer competitions day, The Rally, I would try to be on every team possible. I now play rugby for an under 18s team in Sudbury which gives me time to see my friends, have fun and do exercise.
In September 2020 I will be moving to Cumbria to study Level 3 agriculture at Newton Rigg College for two years. However, I will join the local YFC and carry on enjoying the amazing experiences it can offer. Farming is in my blood and looking to the future I want to stay an active member of YFC and help grow the family farm and become a self-employed stockwoman.
Name: Poppy Sleightholme
Occupation: College student / livestock farmer
YFC Club: Diss
How long have you been a YFC member?: 4 years
- Diss YFC meets at Bressingham Village Hall on Wednesday evenings. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.