BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely Managers

Turkey farmer Richard England, Somerset

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

When did you become a manager?

In 1978, when I took over the farm from my father-in-law. I manage 300 turkeys, 180 beef cattle, 100 acres of corn and a camping site. I started with five staff, now there's just me.

What does management mean to you?

It means looking after the animals. Any farmer who says they don't get attached to them wouldn't be a good farmer. I manage the birds so the fox can't get at them and I make sure they get their food on time. In the second week of December they are killed. I hire 12 people to help.

Then we get them ready for the table. I manage the plucking of the birds - it takes two people 30 minutes to pluck a turkey. You get a very sore finger! The birds are sent to the local butcher and I've built up trade by word of mouth. I eat my own turkeys for Christmas dinner.

What do you love/hate about it?

I love the side of farming where I'm in charge and can dictate the price, like the turkeys - I don't have to rely on what Mr Tesco pays. Bad weather can make life difficult to manage

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