KENT SHEEP FARMER
Farming has been my family’s livelihood for generations, but it took me a while to come to it.
Although I’ve always helped out at lambing time, I wasn’t sure that I would become a sheep farmer. After I graduated and returned home, however, taking up the mantle seemed like a golden opportunity.
I now manage the sheep, which are a combination of Romney sheep and Kent halfbreds.
We have a flock of 400 breeding ewes on our 230-acre farm, which is mainly grassland.
You have to be humble when you work with nature and animals.
I always think that a good sheep farmer takes their cue from the sheep, who are very intelligent. Romney sheep are by nature a very maternal breed, so I try to limit my intervention and lamb them outside. They also have a strong flocking instinct, so they’re not as flighty as hill sheep.
I shear all my sheep single-handedly, a job I was taught to do in New Zealand.
I take over a ton of wool annually to my local depot before it’s transported to the Bradford headquarters of British Wool to be graded and sold at auction.
Patience and a strong work ethic are key in my job.
I love being outside working with livestock. There are always setbacks, both financial and practical, so staying positive is crucial. Learning to be a good sheep farmer is a life-long but rewarding commitment.
Marie Prebble graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2009 with a degree in environmental sciences. She breeds sheep on the land that her family have been farming since 1760. They are tenants of the Ministry of Defence.