Alex Riley presents as rookies Megan and Holly experience what life is really like down on the farm, shepherding sheep into pens and ploughing furrows.
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NARRATOR: 'We push our rookies hard. They see the good...
-How cool is this?!
'..and downright astonishing.
'We give them glamour... CAMERAS CLICK
'..show them excitement...
'get their hands dirty... BLEATING
-'..put them under pressure...
-Oh, no, no.
'..make them laugh... GROWLING
'..all so they can experience their dream jobs.
'Today's rookies will be getting their hands,
'knees and boots dirty as they wade into the world of farming.
'Let's go All Over The Workplace.'
There is nothing like the smell of fresh air.
And this is nothing like the smell of fresh air.
I don't know what those sheep had last night, but it don't half stink.
You see, farming is not a bed of roses.
You have got to muck in and get your hands and feet dirty.
And our rookies are prepared to do just that.
They are two girls with a passion for farming.
'Our first rookie is ten
'and from the Far East.
'She already has some good knowledge of cattle
'from her Young Farmers' Club.'
Hi, I'm Holly and I want to be a farmer.
I'd like to be a farmer because you get to work with cows,
and I love cows.
One of the hardest things about farming for me
would be the getting up early.
I'm definitely not an early bird.
'Next up is the city farming rookie from London.
'She is really into sheep.
'And she volunteers regularly to work with the little woolly ones.'
Hi, I'm Megan
and I'd like to be a farmer.
My family thinks it is a bit funny that I want to become a farmer,
because it is not really a job that people have in the city.
I would like to go into dairy and wool farming.
The main challenge for me would be
dealing with the weather and early mornings.
'Talking of whether, we've brought the budding farmers to a wet and
'windswept corner of North Yorkshire.'
Holly and Megan, welcome to sunny North Yorkshire.
-What do you think of it so far?
-It is cold.
This is mild weather. Come on!
Now, Megan, you live in London, don't you?
So, how different is where you live to this place?
There is no buildings are traffic or noise or people here.
-Yeah, it's very peaceful.
-Very, very peaceful.
Holly, are you from a farming family?
-So why are you so mad about farming, then?
I just love cows.
But cows are absolutely enormous. Aren't you are a bit worried that
-they're going to squash you?
Well, you're obviously both very passionate about farming,
but let's see if your parents think you are suited
to a life on the farm.
Getting up early isn't her natural forte, shall we say.
I think it would be really good for Holly to learn about farming
as a lifestyle, that it is a 24-hour-a-day job.
It is not a question of turning up nine till five and going home again.
She needs to learn that it isn't just turning up at the farm
and cuddling the sheep and cuddling the goats
and putting them away in the evening.
I think one of the things that, for her, is going to be challenging
but also really amazing is seeing, you know,
the size, and the scale of it, the kind of big flocks of sheep,
and sheep that are not going to come up to you and cuddle you,
because they weren't raised in a city farm.
Holly, you're not very good at getting up in the morning.
You know how early a farmer has to get up in the morning?
About five o'clock in the morning! How are you going to cope with that?
It will motivate me because my cows need me.
That's nice. And, Megan, you might struggle with animals
that aren't used to human contact.
Yeah, I think, cos I'm used to the animals on the farm,
they are used to, like, people touching them and going up to them,
so this could be very different.
Well, we've got a lot of work to do. Come on, let's go.
'Messing about in dung not for you?
'There are plenty of other jobs in farming that aren't quite as stinky.
'What about an animal nutritionist?
'Animals are like people,
'and what they eat has a big influence on how healthy they are.
'Diet checks help keep them in tiptop condition,
'and that is where the nutritionist comes in.
'Vets, too, look after an animal's wellbeing,
'preventing sickness using all the same techniques
'that doctors use on us.
'Prime livestock sells at auction for big money.
'Why not try your hand at being a livestock auctioneer?
'If you can talk the hind legs off a donkey,
'this could be the job for you.
'Who will give me five? 10 at the back.
'Any advance on 10? Yes, 15.
'And 20. 25. Going, going, gone!'
Right then, have you got any idea what we're going to be doing next?
-OK, well, you two are going to be sheep farmers
-for the day. Yeah? you really like sheep, don't you?
Come on then. Let's go.
'We are at a hill farm at one of the northern, most northerly dales
'in North Yorkshire. It is 2,000 acres in size.
'That is bigger than 800 rugby pitches.
'It is home sweet home to hundreds of farm animals and nine children.
'Their parents are hard-working sheep farmers Amanda and Clive.
'Neither of them are from a farming background.
'Amanda is one of a small number of female shepherds in the UK.
'She met husband Clive when she came one day to collect a ram.
'Aw! Now that's romance.'
Clive and Amanda, what are your three top tips
for a career in farming?
The first step would be to get as much experience as you can
and hands-on experience.
If you get an opportunity to work alongside people with sheep,
that is a great way to learn.
At certain times of year, lambing time and things like that,
where farmers are looking for extra help,
that is a great way to get loads of experience.
You need to stick with it, keep that enthusiasm,
even when things don't look to be going your way.
There are a lot of people out there
who will be willing to help you along the way.
You need to talk to people.
Get yourself to auction markets, get yourselves to Young Farmers' Clubs,
and talk to people.
'Amanda and Clive's top tips are...
'There is no better way to learn than getting your hands dirty.
'Farming is hard graft.
'Remaining positive is essential. And...
'Joining a Young Farmers' Club is a great way to meet folk in the know.'
There is going to have to be a fourth top tip.
Always have some baler twine in your pocket, string.
-That is a top tip.
How much land do you have?
So, it is a big farm, we are a hill farm, you see,
so a lot of it is literally just grazing for the sheep.
What would you say the hardest part of your job is?
Certain times of year are tougher than others.
Lambing time is a tough time, because we don't get to sleep much.
We tend to work almost
right throughout the day and night.
-I think the term is 24/7, really.
That's right. So that is a pretty tough time.
You have to show devotion.
When the sun is shining, and the lambs are playing and everything...
Everybody's happy, then it is a wonderful place to be, isn't it?
Out with your dog and out on the moors, you know,
you know, it is the finest thing you can do.
So, can you tell us what the first assignment is going to be?
Yes, we're going to look at some sheep,
and we're going to have a little bit of a rounding up with the dog,
and hopefully, hopefully, see if we can't get the dog
to work for you guys.
'12-year-old sheepdog Bill has had a long career working with...
'In his spare time, he likes to chase chickens.
'But he can never catch them.
'Let's hope he and the rookies have more success with the sheep.'
We're going to give him his right-hand command.
So that is a way.
So, wherever you are standing, you are bringing the sheep towards you.
It is anticlockwise.
So, you've got... If you want him to go clockwise, that way,
it is "Come-bye". So, try and remember C-clockwise, "Come-bye".
If you use those two commands, you can even make him go left or right.
'So, just to get that right, or was it left,
'C is for clockwise.
'So that is come-bye.
'A is for anticlockwise
'and that is away.
'The sheep are naturally wary of the dog,
'so by tactically moving around them,
'Bill can coax them in the right direction,
'or at least that is the theory.
'Let's see how the rookies do.'
AMANDA: Bill, away.
-Just keep encouraging him. Away.
-'It doesn't look like Bill is listening to them yet.'
You've got to send him that way.
'Come on, girls, don't be sheepish.'
Give him the command, one of you girls.
-Give it a good shout.
-'That's better, Holly.'
-Well done. Well done.
-AMANDA: Good lasses. He's listening to you.
'Bill is on it now, as the girls' confidence and voices are rising.'
-Go on, shout.
-Yeah, he looked, did you see there?
Right, keep encouraging him. Come-bye.
Very good, Megan, very forceful.
'Who'd be a sheep, though, having to run away from Bill all day?'
Now, when you want him to slow down
and just get him a bit of time just say, "Steady, Bill."
You're in control.
Come-bye, Bill. Come-bye.
'Uh-oh. Riley's getting in on the act.'
'Not sure Bill is getting the message.
'Nope. Not getting the message, Bill.'
Now, what we are going to do now,
we're going to take the sheep home into the sheep pens,
and we're going to work at giving them some medicine.
So we want you to round them up and take them back home.
So, have you remembered which command to give him?
-Go on, then.
Excellent. He's taking your commander there.
He's bringing the sheep. Brilliant, brilliant.
-Come on, keep egging him on.
Come on, you're desperate here.
-Tell him to stand.
-Stand. That's it.
Right, let's follow them down home then, girls.
'Well done, Megan and Holly. Good work.'
I'd definitely recommend farming as a career choice.
It is one of the best jobs in the world.
You get to work with animals, drive tractors,
gadgets and gizmos are really important nowadays,
and you're often out in the great outdoors.
What could be better?
'The sheep are heading for the pens,
'and Megan and Holly for a real hands-on experience.
'They are going to give some vitamin supplements to the sheep.'
It is multivitamins we're giving them,
and it just makes sure that they keep healthy all winter.
Right then, girls, we're going to chase a few sheep into this pen
where we can get to grips with them.
Come in, squeeze in here, girls.
We'll show you what happens next.
They don't like it, but it is very good for them.
So they have to like it.
Clive, how do you know which ones you have done and which ones you
haven't done? It is just chaos, isn't it?
That's right, that's why we've got them in this narrow pen.
-We've pushed them back as we've done them.
-Oh, I see. I see.
-Here we go. I will help you for the first time.
OK, go on, put it further in.
Keep it going in there. You won't hurt it.
A bit further. There.
Squeeze the... Well done.
Well done. You want to try that again? Just in there.
Perfect. Well done.
You just gently, over the top of the tongue and done a bit...
-'Come on, then, Megan.
-'Your turn with the cuddly critters.'
-That was great.
Do you want to do it again?
Well done. Fantastic. You are doing well.
Oh! Ahh! Lovely and furry, isn't it? Lovely and woolly.
'Uh...don't give up the day job, Alex.'
Sheep farming, I think, is really enjoyable.
I really enjoyed doing the medicine, particularly.
'When I was doing the medicine for the sheep, I was quite relaxed'
and I found it quite fun, but it was something I hadn't done before.
'What I found hard was, particularly,
'the sheep dog running,'
because sometimes didn't pay attention to what I was saying.
I still think sheep farming is something I want to do in the
future, because I love sheep and it is very hands-on.
Holly, I think you have done absolutely great today.
I am really impressed with how you handled the sheep in the sheep pens.
I think you should be very proud of yourself.
You have done a great job.
I can see a farmer in the making.
Megan, your handling of the sheep was really impressive.
I'm sure that you would make a very good sheep farmer.
'The population of the world is growing, and by 2050,
'it is estimated there will be an extra two billion mouths to feed.
'Technology is making a big difference
'to the way food is farmed.
'Soon we will be seeing driverless tractors
'and unmanned drones in our fields.
'Some crops are now produced using hydroponics,
'that is growing in liquid to you and me.
'Hydroponic farms can pop up anywhere,
'from underground bunkers to skyscraper roofs.
'Insects need much less food than traditional farm animals,
'so insect farming is growing in popularity as a cheaper and more
'environmentally friendly way to make food.
'Don't fancy the bug burger?
'Scientists are now able to grow meat in labs.
'But the first lab-grown burger cost a whopping £215,000 to make.
'The rookies have had a go at sheep farming,
'but there are many other types of farms.
'That is why Alex and the rookies have popped lower down the Dales
'to look at a different kind of farming.
'This is an arable farm.
'In other words, it grows crops.
'We are about to meet the farmer.
'Richard Ormston was born into life on the farm,
'and it is all he ever wanted to do.
'He went to work on the family farm when he left school at 15.
'44 years later, he is still at it.'
What are your three top tips for arable farming?
A think if you make lots of money,
don't spend it on big grain tractors.
Try not to spend all your life driving tractors around.
Have outside hobbies and things like that.
If you don't make a good job of sowing the entire field,
it is an uphill battle all the time.
'Don't blow it all on top-of-the-range tractors.
'Farming demands a lot of your time,
'but making time for your family and friends and other interests
'is also important.
'Healthy, productive crops stem from well sown seeds.'
-What is grown in this field?
-We are sowing winter wheat in this field.
It is for biscuits, digestive biscuits, mainly.
-Custard creams, nothing but the best.
-Oh, wow, that's quite nice.
'Megan is first up to get behind the wheel of the super tractor.
'Closely watched, of course, by Richard.'
If you can steer a little bit left, it's pulling in a little bit.
Just turn it that way a little bit.
That's it. You are doing very well, yeah.
Nice and straight.
'Time for Megan to turn the plough over, ready for the return journey.'
That's it. Now let go. That's it. Perfect.
To turn around, you just turn the steering wheel lots
and lots and lots. More, more, more, more.
'Clever stuff, Megan. And cool as a cucumber.'
Put that into backwards.
That's it. And turn the steering wheel the other way now.
There you go.
And off we go again.
'Time to see how Holly's driving goes.'
When you are ploughing, you have to look behind you all the time
to make sure it is making a good job.
-Still nice and straight.
-There you go.
Turn left again. That's it.
'Holly seems to be a natural.'
There you go. Not too tiring?
-I quite like it.
Good. As fast as you can.
Very good. That's it.
You are good at this.
You've done this before.
-No, I haven't.
-You must have done.
-It's good behind.
'Richard has whizzed back to base and replaced the plough
'with a seed drill and cultivator.'
What is a cultivator?
It breaks all the soil up really fine, so every seed can grow,
and it makes all flat and level and a perfect seedbed.
Well, let's get some of this seed into the ground.
-Who is going to go first?
-OK, Megan, come on, let's get cracking.
'They're off. And right away,
'the machine is breaking up the earth
'and planting the little red seeds.'
Keep it lined all the way up the field.
'Megan is concentrating hard and doing a great job.'
A bit farther right, I think.
'Now it is Holly's turn to sow the seeds.
'It feels like these girls have been driving for ages. They are so calm.
'Even Richard seems impressed by their tractor skills.
'After harvesting, Richard sells his wheat to traders who in turn sell it
'on to companies who make our much-loved biscuits.
'In a few weeks' time,
'hopefully, little green shoots will start appearing
'where Holly and Megan have been working.'
It was better than I expected it to be.
Because I'm more used to doing animal farming,
but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to drive the tractor.
I think the sowing was definitely harder than the ploughing.
You had to keep in a straight line, that was really hard,
because you had to concentrate loads.
I still want to be a sheep farmer, but it could be another
opportunity that I could do something different
as well along with sheep.
My favourite part was the assignment was probably ploughing.
The three-point turn was really fun.
Turning the wheel really fast.
Megan, your furrowing was really straight.
'You managed to turn the plough over
'at the end of the field. Reverse at the end,'
shunting around, it was good.
'Holly, your ploughing was lovely and straight.
'You managed to avoid a few big stones, thankfully.'
For the future, I think you will do really well.
OK, rookies, you've got one more assignment left.
So, we better get moooooooving.
'Alex and the rookies have travelled just along the road to a different
'kind of farm. Here, it is a mix of dairy and arable.
'On the farm, there are 250 cows and four robots.
'You can't farm robots.
'These babies are here to milk the cows.
'And they can suck about 30L of milk from each cow per day.
'On this farm, that totals 7,500L a day.
'That is enough for around 50,000 bowls of cereal.
'Meet Andy Eastabrook.
'He is the man who looks after these milk-making creatures.
'He studied agriculture at uni before working on a farm.
'And he knows a thing or two about cows.
'Nice shorts, Andy.'
So, Andy, can you run through your three top tips
-for becoming a dairy farmer?
-Number one, be committed.
There aren't set hours, there aren't set days of work,
you can be getting up at five o'clock in the morning
to help with a calving, you could be staying up till
10 o'clock at night, and you might be working on Christmas Day.
So make sure you are committed to doing that.
The second thing is to show that you are enthusiastic.
If you like cattle, let it be known that you want to work with them.
Thirdly, show compassion towards these animals.
We are here to serve them, not the other way around.
They are living creatures.
Yes, there is an economic side to it, but we need to care for them.
'Looking after cows is 24/7.
'Taking time off can be a problem.
'Being keen can get you a long way.
'Living creatures deserve respect.
'Make sure you treat them well.'
How many different breeds of cow do you have?
Probably about nine or ten different breeds.
We've got the Guernseys in the shed,
we've got some Holstein Friesians in the other shed,
and there is a range of continental and native breeds
and crossbreds mixed in that shed as well.
Certain cows have been bred with different production traits in mind.
These Guernsey cows have been bred with high-fat and milk quality for
making ice cream, cheese, butter,
whereas the Holstein Friesian has been bred more
with a focus on liquid production.
What time do you start and finish work?
I normally get up at about five o'clock
and I'm on the farm for 5.30.
I usually work through till breakfast,
go and have some breakfast and then come back out onto the farm.
My day usually finishes at about 6.30 in the evening.
But quite often there's late calvings in the evening,
through the night, it is by no means 9 to 5.
-So, shall we get on with the first assignment?
-Yeah, let's get started.
'For various reasons,
'some cows occasionally get milked away from the robotic system.'
-Look at that. There we go. There we go.
This is like a sausage.
'Ugh! This experience might make Holly rethink her
'"cows are cute and cuddly" theory.
'Megan and Holly will be helping to milk this cow in order to feed her
'There is a lot of concentration here as the girls firstly clean the
'teats before attaching the unit that sucks out the milk.'
-Then you can see the milk's started to come to this pipe.
Going into the bucket, ready for her calf.
OK, so this calf gets 2L in the morning and 2L in the afternoon.
So if you want to do the honours.
Just hold it out, it should get the idea.
What is this calf called? Has it got a name? Or has it got a number?
It hasn't got a name yet.
What about Steve?
-Sounds good. Looks like a Steve.
-Is it a boy or a girl?
It is a boy, so Steve is very appropriate.
Hi, Steve. Milk time. Come on, Steve.
'Steve seems to be enjoying the milk that the girls have
-'just helped get from his mother.'
Got a powerful sucker on him. Look at him.
He's doing exactly the same with his tongue as that milking unit was
doing to the cow's udder.
He has just wrapped his tongue around the teat
and just creating that vacuum to draw the milk out of the teat.
-He seems to be wagging his tail, does that mean he is happy?
-'Finally, Holly gives Steve a new straw bed.
'So he can relax after his milk.'
Right, I'm afraid it's not all glamorous, so now that we have
finished feeding the calf, let's go and do some cleaning up.
See you, Steve. Catch you later.
As a chef, farmers are an integral part of my business.
Without the farmers, creating the wonderful produce that they produce,
whether it's vegetables, meat,
and really taking care of that produce
and giving me the best possible product is to use in my restaurant,
my restaurant wouldn't be these success it is.
As a chef, it is really important for me that I know exactly where my
produce comes from, so I want to know the guy who rears the pigs,
has the beef for me, grows the vegetables.
This is really, really important to me as a chef.
Over the years, in the restaurant, it has been really important
that I had built up this degree of trust with my producers, my farmers,
from everyone who supplies the food to the restaurant.
I need to understand their world and they need to understand my world.
'Megan and Holly are learning loads about farming.
'But they are about to realise that sometimes you just have to get your
So I just want you to scrape off anything where the udder goes
that isn't sawdust.
Pull it down into the lane and then rake some fresh sawdust
over the top, so that they have got a nice clean bed to lie on.
And just keep going right the way down the row.
I can see a problem ahead.
That is a big bit of dung, that, isn't it?
That is a monster.
'Good work, Megan. No time to be squeamish,
'just time to dump the dung.
'Holly's turn to be a hygiene operative.
'I wonder if she still thinks cows are cuddly.'
Scrape it right down off the step, Holly.
'Yes, yes, not bad, Holly. Well done.'
It was a bit out of my comfort zone,
as I'm used to sheep and much smaller animals.
I feel the assignments went really well.
I was really in my element, working with dairy cows.
My favourite part about the assignment
'was feeding the baby calf.'
I think I'm still set on cows.
But this is a little grim, the way they poo.
Holly, I thought you were very enthusiastic,
I liked that you were interested in the cows.
I think you need to gain a little more confidence working
with the cows.
Megan, I thought you were also very enthusiastic,
'you were proactive with the cows,
'and it was evident that you've worked with livestock before.'
You could certainly have a career with cows.
'Our rookies have had a farm-tastic experience.
'Shepherding, ploughing, and caring for cattle.
'But have they got what it takes to make it in the industry?'
I think that the pair of you should be really proud of yourselves.
I think there is no reason whatsoever
why you couldn't both become farmers.
You have certainly got all the attributes that you need.
If you want it bad enough, it can happen.
You girls just stick at it and never give in.
-Megan, hopefully, driving big tractors and noisy machinery
hasn't put you off the job too much.
Holly, for the future, I think you will do really well.
You are really keen and I think you will have no problem at all finding
a job in farming as well.
Holly, I certainly think you would make a good dairy farmer,
as long as you can address your confidence with the cows
and the fact that you will get covered in slobber.
Megan, I think you would make an excellent dairy farmer,
from what I saw of your skills with the cows,
I wish you would consider a career with cows instead of sheep.
I'm sure you would have a lot more fun.
So, Megan and Holly, you've had a really good go at farming,
you've had a go at dairy farming, sheep farming, and arable farming.
You have also found out that farming is long hours and it is hard work.
Megan, do you still want to be a farmer?
-And do you still want to work with sheep?
-No doubt about it?
You're not swayed by these lovely Guernsey cows behind us?
-No? OK, and what about you, Holly?
Do you still want to be a cow farmer?
Yes, although I would be open to other options.
As in sheep. I just really enjoyed working with them,
and they are a little bit smaller and easier to handle.
That's really good. Well, because you have worked so hard
and you have done so well, I think it is time that we had a bit of
relaxation, don't you?
Why don't we go to the moooovies?
The movies, the moooovies.
Don't you find it amoooosing?
It's very funny.
Come on, then, let's go. Come on.
Is working in the country something that excites you? Join Alex Riley and rookies Megan and Holly as they experience what life is really like down on the farm. They get their hands and wellies dirty as their skills are tested as sheep farmers, working with dogs to shepherd the sheep into pens. They also get up close with the woolly bunch, giving them vitamin shots to keep them healthy. They then get the chance to drive a shiny mega tractor and attempt to plough straight furrows ready for sowing wheat. Finally they enter the intense world of dairy production, where they experience first-hand where milk comes from! Do two city girls have what it takes to be farmers?