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Top of their field! As Love Island welcomes farmer Will Young… meet the OTHER glamorous farming influencers who have got people talking – including The Red Shepherdess
- Farming influencers took off during Covid as Britons got bored of lockdowns
- The rising stars of the industry share mishaps and the joys of farm life online
- Here, MailOnline reveals the young farmers who are helping to shape industry
He’s one of the biggest social media influencers in the farming world – with thousands of fans flocking to get a glimpse inside his life.
But next week, Will Young will be swapping his wellies for flip flops as he enters the Love Island villa.
The 23-year-old, from Buckinghamshire, has 128,000 followers on Instagram and another million on TikTok, on which he shares the bonds he has with his animals, as well as insights of everyday life.
However, he is far from the only famous ‘farm-fluencer’ taking social media by storm. Dozens of young farmers are sharing everything from mishaps with cattle to a hyperactive sheep dog, providing educational and entertaining content at a rapid pace.
Here, MailOnline looks at the rising stars of the industry and how they are influencing the way the general public views farming and farmers.
Looking for love: ‘Having grown up on a farm, it’s been quite difficult juggling relationships and work,’ he explains. ‘Love Island will give me time away from the farm to solely find love’
The Red Shepherdess: Hannah Jackson is one half of a farming power couple, who looks after their Cumbria farm while her partner shoes horses from around the region
128K followers, 3,000 sheep, pigs and alpacas
Farmer Will Young, 23, from Buckinghamshire, is one of the most high-profile farming influencers with 128,000 followers on Instagram – and one million on TikTok.
He shares regular updates of his work, mainly of him around the farm, which has been in the family since 1870, tending to sheep and pigs.
The influencer is unafraid to show a bit of skin to his fans, which will have prepared him well for his upcoming trip into the Love Island villa.
He and his family take care of between 3,000 and 4,000 sheep on their 230 acre farm.
Country boy: Farmer Will Young, 23, from Buckinghamshire is hoping to have the time to dedicate to his love life as he takes a break from his busy job
Mr Young has a particular love of pigs, sometimes hand-feeding piglets until they are old enough to fend for themselves
The farmer, 23, from Buckinghamshire is one of the most high-profile farming influencers with 128,000 followers
Mr Young has shared videos of him tending to sick animals around the farm – but they don’t always get the attention for the reason he is hoping.
One follower wrote on a clip of Mr Young explaining how to help an ill sheep: ‘Poor man is trying to talk about how to help sheep but everyone’s talking about how hot he is!’
Some of the videos, including several which show him assisting sheep having problems with labour during lambing season, have reportedly provoked some backlash online from animal rights’ organisations.
But speaking to MailOnline, his mother Jenny, 53, said Will is a ‘lovely, caring young man’ who treats all of the animals as his pets.
This includes two pigs who he has named Timon and Pumbaa after characters in The Lion King.
What!? Elsewhere, Will revealed that Claudia Winkleman , 50, once came to his Buckinghamshire farm and threw a bucket of water over him, while he was shirtless
Will’s Love Island stint won’t be his first brush with fame, as he has also revealed that Claudia Winkleman, 50, once came to his Buckinghamshire farm and threw a bucket of water over him, while he was shirtless.
Back in November, the farmer took to TikTok where he shared a video of his hilarious interaction with the Strictly Come Dancing host.
The farmer is hoping to have the time to dedicate to his love life as he takes a break from his busy job with the start of Love Island on Monday.
‘Having grown up on a farm, it’s been quite difficult juggling relationships and work,’ he said. ‘Love Island will give me time away from the farm to solely go out and find love.’
‘I think I’m at the time of my life where I’m mature enough to go and find a wife.’
Hannah Jackson and Danny Gallagher
Hannah: 80.9K followers, Danny: 21.8K followers. 250 sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, a pony and a pumpkin patch
Power couple Hannah Jackson, aka ‘The Red Shepherdess’ and farrier Danny Jackson share regular updates about life on the farm, having a combined total of more than 100,000 followers.
Based in Cumbria, the Red Shepherdess decided to pursue a career in farming after helping a sheep give birth on a family holiday.
Her decision to then start sharing an insight into her life and career online has proven challenging, but she wants to continue sharing informative content so the ‘public knows where food comes from’.
Ms Jackson ditched her ‘townie’ lifestyle in Wirral nine years ago and moved to a farm near Carlise, Cumbria with her partner.
Hannah Jackson, 28, moved from Wirral to a farm in Cumbria nine years ago and has racked up 80,000 followers by sharing her rural lifestyle online
She’s highly communicative with her 80,000 Instagram followers, answering questions from fans about the ins and outs of farm life and how she tends to her animals
On her farm she has 250 sheep, goats, a pony, pigs, chickens, ducks and dogs
Farrier Danny Gallagher helps his partner Ms Jackson on the farm, as well as having his own specialism in shoeing horses
Mr Gallagher has recently been breeding his own flock of black sheep alongside the hundreds of animals already used for commercial purposes on the farm
She’s highly communicative with her 80,000 Instagram followers, answering questions from fans about the ins and outs of farm life and how she tends to her animals.
In 2022, Ms Jackson announced she’d branched out from livestock and had been tending to a pumpkin patch which would be open to the public.
‘I am so proud when I wander through this field finding beautiful pumpkin treasures everywhere, of all different colours and all different sizes,’ she told her followers.
Meanwhile partner and farrier Mr Gallagher shoes horses from around the area as well as chipping in with regular farm tasks.
As well as snaps of him mid-shoeing and with the couple’s many dogs, Mr Gallagher and Ms Jackson recently announced they are expecting a baby in the near future
He has recently taken an interest in sheep farming after his partner’s success, creating his own flock of black sheep alongside the other commercial flocks on the farm.
As well as snaps of him mid-shoeing and with the couple’s many dogs, Mr Gallagher and Ms Jackson recently announced they are expecting a baby in the near future.
In 2022 they took over a new farm in Cumbria, from which they look after their hundreds of sheep and other animals.
8,340 followers, sheep
In 2018, Erin McNaught was crowned British Young Handler Champion and won the BBCs One Man and His Dog the following year for her work training and trialling sheepdogs.
The student also has a keen interest in the impact of climate change and puts a heavy emphasis on sustainability at Pandy Farm, her family’s 250-acre beef and sheep farm near Bala in Wales.
She’s a fourth generation farmer who uses her social media platform to tackle real issues facing the industry, particularly relating to the cost of living crisis, earning her a legion of loyal followers.
She is based at her family’s farm in Bala, Wales, which operates keeps sheep and cows for beef
In 2018, Erin McNaught was crowned British Young Handler Champion and won the BBC’s One Man and His Dog the following year for her work training and trialling sheepdogs
Ms McNaught uses her social media platform to discuss major issues faced by the farming industry
Ally Hunter Blair
23.5K followers, crops including wheat, barley and sugarbeet
Ally Hunter Blair took over his family farm in Herefordshire in 2012, after his father first began renting the land in 1968 from the Duchy of Cornwall.
An arable farm, he grows crops including wheat, barley, oilseed rape, beans and sugarbeat – but has also expanded the business to offer glamping stays and an equestrian business.
He told MailOnline that the weather ‘controls my day-to-day life far more than it should’, with high inflation and recent extreme weather events such as flooding leading to him sometimes questioning the risk vs reward of his industry.
Ally Hunter Blair, from Herefordshire, says his life is ruled by the weather and is pictured here celebrating the rain during unseasonably hot weather last summer
Mr Blair (left) worries that such a large portion of his income is outside of his control, but still loves working as a farmer in such an idyllic area of the country
Mr Blair, pictured with Toffee, grows plenty of crops on his farmland, but also has an equestrian side to the business
Mr Blair began amassing his social media fans after appearing on several television shows, including Channel 4’s First Time Farmers from 2012 to 2014
In a recent flood, a third of Weir End farm was left underwater, reminding him of the large proportion of his income which is out of his control.
Mr Blair said: ‘Often if I’m on Plan A at 7am I’ll be on Plan D by 9am. It’s half the fun but can be a bit stressful if you’re a completer finisher!’
But he added: ‘I always thought farming was what I wanted to do and I love it as a career and life.
‘Highlights are definitely working in the beautiful countryside and being your own boss.
‘The last few years has really highlighted to me how lucky we are to call this part of Herefordshire work and home.’
Mr Blair began amassing his social media fans after appearing on several television shows, including Channel 4’s First Time Farmers from 2012 to 2014.
As well as being able to show daily life as a farmer and ongoing environmental changes, he also appreciates the opportunity to connect with others: ‘I’ve been chatting to some followers for well over a decade and probably know them as well as some of my closer friends having possibly never been within the same county or even country.
‘The vast majority of my followers are fantastic, really supportive and [they] love to see what you’re up to next.’
This connection is of increasing value to Mr Blair, who pointed out that increasing technological advancements mean there are fewer people required on the farm, which can lead to moments of loneliness.
69K followers, 600 sheep, 12 sheepdogs
Right now, Emma Gray and her family are in what she calls ‘survival mode’. It’s winter, and as a farmer, she’s ‘a slave to the weather’.
Even still, Ms Gray is delivering regular content for her 69,000 Instagram followers, sharing a slice of life battling the temperamental conditions on her 680 acre farm on the Scottish Isle of Bute.
While Ms Gray and her husband, firefighter Ewan, plan to turn Ardros into the first organic farm on the island, rearing and selling scotch lamb and beef, their passion lay in training sheepdogs.
There’s 12 sheepdogs on the property, and they’re in charge of shepherding 600 ewe sheep. She tells MailOnline farming is in her blood.
‘I was lucky enough to be born into a farming family. It’s really in my blood to want to do this… I know this is all I’ll ever do.’
Emma Gray keeps sheep on the isolated Scottish island of Bute, where she plans to create the isle’s first organic farm
Ms Gray and her husband, firefighter Ewan, plan to turn Ardros into the first organic farm on the island, rearing and selling scotch lamb and beef
There are 12 sheepdogs on the property, and they’re in charge of shepherding 600 ewe sheep
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that she doesn’t ever have her doubts. Living on the west coast of Scotland, it can often be a hard slog in trying to keep the farm in tip top shape, particularly in the harsh winter.
‘Half of the joy of farming is the variety, and the fact that nor two days are the same, as farmers we are ruled by the weather and the time of year… it can make or break us, and living on the West Coast of Scotland it often breaks us.’
But the spring brings newborn lambs to care for, and in the summer Ms Gray spends most of her time making sure there’s enough hay and silage to last the winter.
Autumn is dedicated to tending to the sheep, and preparing for the cycle to begin again.
On her Instagram and YouTube channels, Ms Gray and her family share sweet videos of her dogs hard at work – and occasionally when they get into mischief.
Just three weeks ago she revealed she found one of her dogs, Turk, ‘a busy, hyperactive, anxiety ridden mess’ and realised he’d eaten all of her coffee grounds.
‘We’ve all been there,’ she told her followers. She rushed Turk to the vet, where he was treated and made a full recovery.
As the youngest solo shepherdess in England, Ms Gray won two British Farming Awards, and starred in BBC 2’s This Farming Life.
7,800 followers, 500 animals including 360 cows
Sophie Gregory is a first generation farmer in Dorset and passionate advocate for organic dairy.
She was the recipient of the 2021 Dairy Industry Woman of the Year award, and in addition to educating her followers on social media, she’s involved in educating school-aged children about the importance of dairy and farmers.
She tells MailOnline she’s up at 4am every day, first to meditate and then out in the shed by about 4.30am to start milking.
‘Most of the time my posts are just in real time, sharing what it is we do. The only reason I do social media is to try to show, first that a career in farming can be for anyone, but also that dairy is really important.
Sophie Gregory (right) begins milking her cows at 4.30am every single morning
Ms Gregory wants farmers across the nation to be more open about the bond they have with their animals, explaining she doesn’t believe there’s any reason to be ashamed or hide the fact they’ll ‘one day be turned into meat and join the food chain’
She was the recipient of the 2021 Dairy Industry Woman of the Year award
Sophie Gregory is a first generation farmer in Dorset and passionate advocate for organic dairy
In hilarious videos with her herds of cows, Ms Gregory asks them questions, pairs footage to music and offers an insight into the bond she has with her animals.
She says: ‘I know every cow on farm. They’re all really important.’
But her favourite cow is Pet Cow, who has been part of the family for nine years and is 11 years old.
‘I don’t think people realise us farmers love our animals.’
Ms Gregory wants farmers across the nation to be more open about the bond they have with their animals, explaining she doesn’t believe there’s any reason to be ashamed or hide the fact they’ll ‘one day be turned into meat and join the food chain’.
‘I think the fact that we’ve given them so much respect is really important and I think the consumer would see the benefit of that.’
126K followers, cows, goats and sheep
Tom Pemberton has also made a name for himself in television, but far away from the world of bikinis and blind dates.
Mr Pemberton, from Lancashire, keeps hundreds of dairy cows, most recently posting photos of himself and his team milking the animals on Christmas Day.
He is an award-winning farmer who was recognised as a Hero Farmer at the British Farming Awards in October.
Tom Pemberton was recognised as a Hero Farmer at the British Farming Awards in October
Tom presents a BBC Three show as well as looking after his hundreds of cows in Lancashire
He has now expanded onto other social media platforms including Instagram, and uses it to spotlight his work on the farm as well as photos of his highland cows
Mr Pemberton established himself as an influencer after he began making videos about life on the farm and posting them on his Youtube channel.
He has now expanded onto other social media platforms including Instagram, and uses it to spotlight his work on the farm as well as photos of his highland cows.
The influencer is a BBC Three presenter of the Fast and Farmer-ish and also has more than 50,000 followers on TikTok.
Justine Fitton is a rising social media star who offers an insight into her life as an apprentice butcher at The Butchers Quarter in the centre of Manchester.
While butchery is largely considered a male industry, Ms Fitton was inspired to push her limits as a way to take a break from her previous job in social housing.
‘I’m interested in sustainability, regenerative farming and moving away from factory farming,’ she told MailOnline.
The glamorous butcher still has six months to go on her apprenticeship, but spends her days plying her trade and thinks she’s nailed the perfect sausage.
‘Me and another butcher once made around 2000 sausages in a day,’ she said.
‘You can normally tell if a popular chef has been on TV cooking a recipe with a specific cut of meat as everyone comes in asking for the same thing.’
She created a dedicated Instagram page for her butcher career in May 2021 aptly titled ‘rack of glam’, and has quickly amassed 3,000 followers.
Justine is a rising social media star who offers an insight into her life as an apprentice butcher
From mishaps with cattle to a hyperactive dog stealing coffee grounds and showing the inner workings of a butch, the new wave of farming influencers are providing educational and entertaining content at a rapid pace
While butchery is largely considered a male industry, Ms Fitton was inspired to push her limits as a way to take a break from her previous job in social housing
When should I go to the butcher to get my meat?
If you’re after easy to cook meats, Ms Fitton said any day during the week you’ll be able to pick up what you’re after.
Friday and Saturday, the butcher is most likely to have cuts of steak out on display, as these are the days people are most likely to want to cook them.
On Sunday, the meat you’re most likely to find is roasts.
On the page, she shares videos of making sausages, pictures of her best cuts and even meat recommendations.
‘When I first started butchery I didn’t really have an idea of where it was going to take me. It was just an escape from the stress of working in social housing and what I thought was a really cool job,’ she said.
‘Now I can say I love doing what I do. Whilst trying to be relatable as possible, encourage good meat eating and sustainability, I wanna show girls can do it too.’
Ms Fitton is primarily interested in the ‘field to fork’ journey and hopes to educate her followers about appreciating where their food is coming from.
‘People may view the industry as being old fashioned and intimidating but really it’s fun and inclusive and I want others to see that.’
One thing that’s taken her by surprise in the job is the rise in demand for offal and liver.
The best cuts of meat often never make it to the shop floor as butchers will keep it for themselves, but Ms Fitton also shared tips for customers to ensure they’re heading to the store on the best day for the meat they’re after.
‘In the week we tend to have easier to cook meats in the counter, Friday and Saturday, steaks, and Sundays are for roast dinners.’
Many of her followers say they were inspired by career path, and that she hasn’t sacrificed any ‘glamour’ in the role.
‘Love seeing more and more girls getting into the trade – especially when they are looking as glam as you,’ one fan told her.
She created a dedicated Instagram page for her butcher career in May 2021, and has quickly amassed 3,000 followers
Many of her followers say they were inspired by career path, and that she hasn’t sacrificed any ‘glamour’ in the role
The best cuts of meat often never make it to the shop floor as butchers will keep it for themselves, but Ms Fitton also shared tips for customers to ensure they’re heading to the store on the best day for the meat they’re after
17.2K followers, 250 cows
Lucy Pye offers a great insight on her page into the trials and tribulations of farm life from her dairy farm in Shropshire.
The 26-year-old calves somewhere in the realm of 250 cows and harvests maize to keep the herd fed and producing top tier milk.
On Instagram, she’s attracted 17,200 followers with her lighthearted pictures and videos showing everything from feeding the calves to showing her young daughter the ropes.
Lucy Pye offers a great insight on her page into the trials and tribulations of farm life from her dairy farm in Shropshire
The 26-year-old calves somewhere in the realm of 250 cows and harvests maize to keep the herd fed and producing top tier milk
The 26-year-old works mainly with cows, and is also pictured with various pieces of farm machinery
What prompted the rise of the farming influencer?
City life lost a bit of its shine for many people when Covid wrought havoc on densely populated areas.
With an uptick in remote working opportunities and skyrocketing costs, people were increasingly seeking inspiration – and a final sprinkling of motivation – to make the move.
The idyllic countryside and wide open space of farm life was tempting for many, but even those who remained in the city found themselves more interested than usual in how life was carrying on.
‘Everything got stripped away in lockdown, and so people have been seeking out simple pleasures and more wholesome living,’ farmer Laura Hodgkins told Marie Claire in 2021.
Ms Gray told MailOnline her rise to Instagram fame was a happy accident, having started to share snippets of her life to her personal account.
‘Nowadays, everyone has a social media account. I was just one of those, I started sharing a few years ago and the followers just cam.
‘I think there’s a real and big appetite for living a rural life and working outside with animals, and for those who can’t live it themselves, social media provides a window.’
Meet the teenage farmer juggling a 150 acre plot of land with his GCSEs
Will Banham, 15, began rearing livestock two years ago on a small patch of land near his Dorset home and made thousands of pounds from the venture.
When Harriet Sykes heard about his business acumen she asked him to work with her on her 150 acre farm near Bridport.
The odd couple are now breeding rare Castlemilk Moorit sheep which they will sell to market.
They currently have five lambs and hope to quickly grow the flock to 30.
Will will then sell the sought-after sheep to other farmers for around £80 each, making around £2,400.
Pictured: Harriet Sykes and Will Banham
The flock graze Harriet’s land rent free – and in return Will helps her tend to her own flock of 60 sheep and 15 long horn cattle.
Together they make the ‘perfect team’, with teenager Will riding the quad bike and doing the heavy lifting, while Harriet offers her expertise and guidance in animal husbandry.
Will, who is also studying for his GCSEs, wakes up at 6am every Saturday to check on the sheep and visits the farm after school.
Harriet, meanwhile, feeds them in the week and ‘makes a list’ of jobs for him to do when he next visits.
She described him as a ‘knowledgeable and dedicated young man who is one in a million’.
Will Banham, 15, began rearing livestock two years ago on a small patch of land near his Dorset home and made thousands of pounds from the venture
The widow, who purchased the land with her late husband, Anthony, over 20 years ago, said: ‘I heard about William last spring and he was very keen to come and help with the lambing.
‘I kept him on because I think it is important to give young people the opportunity for experience.
‘We’ve since become partners which is good for both of us. He gets free grazing for his flock and he sells some of my sheep on my behalf. He’s very knowledgeable and dedicated.
‘He’s very good at checking up on me – he will often call and say, “have you broken the ice on the troughs?” He can be quite bossy.
Past customers have described the lambs meat sold by Will as ‘sensational’ and said he offered a ‘great service’
‘I’m 78 so its good to have a strong young lad around. He can do things that I can’t like turning over sheep and hammering in posts. It’s gold dust.
‘He works incredibly hard. He comes back from school on the bus and we work after dark.
‘On the weekends he comes on his bike very early in all weathers – it is really admirable. He’s one in a million.
‘I suppose I will have to step down at some point and he could take over some of the business.’
Past customers have described the lambs meat sold by Will as ‘sensational’ and said he offered a ‘great service’.
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