Chris Webb

Merry Christmas

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Farming 2013-12-24

Tumbleweed is threatening to infest this blog again; it’s high time to dust the cobwebs off my keyboard and write another update.

Milking parlour

In September, I started an Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management degree course at Reaseheath, hoping to consolidate the knowledge and farming skills I’ve built up so far, and fill in some of the gaps in my training. So far, that’s looking like a excellent move: I’m on a comprehensive and well-taught course with a friendly, tight-knit group from a real mix of backgrounds. I’m enjoying it and learning lots that will be directly useful to me in managing a farm business, though it does mean life is busier than ever.

The course is ostensibly full-time but carefully timetabled onto two days a week to allow us to hold down farming work at the same time: a sensible idea given the practical nature of the job we’re being trained for. A big thumbs up to Reaseheath for condensing their teaching like this. It’s a lot more efficient than the normal HE model of lectures scattered randomly throughout the entire week.

In the rest of my time, I continue to enjoy working on a handful of farms as a relief milker and/or part-time stockman, building up vital practical day- to-day farming experience. I was pleased to put my foot-trimming and AI training into practice a lot more over the course of the year, hopefully making myself useful in the process. I suppose I’ve now had a hand in quite a few calves’ conception!

Feed barrier

Another big milestone is that my cloud hosting business has now grown sufficiently and recruited a large enough development team that I’ve been able to step back from day-to-day tech work and can focus more fully on my farming projects in the coming months.

I’m still taking early steps on the path towards being a dairy farmer, but this year it feels like I’ve been making faster progress towards that goal than ever before. Answering a few questions for the ORFC 2014 blog (no longer available online) really brought home to me how much has happened over the last twelve months.

Merry Christmas everyone, and here’s to an equally exciting 2014!