Homes & Gardens - - PROMOTIONAL FEATURE - MARIE PREBBLE Kent Shep­herd, kentshep­

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.

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