Despite growing up on a farm, by the time Emily Sargent was 18 she had convinced herself that a career in farming wasn’t for her.
“I got plenty of stick at school from the other kids about smelling like a sheep when I got to class, or arriving with straw in my hair, so I pursued a more academic line,” she admits. “But after my A Levels, and when everyone else was applying for university, I just thought ‘who am I kidding?’. I love farming, I love animals and I love being outdoors – it was more ‘me’ than anything else.”
A small village in Northamptonshire was home, looking after sheep – “blue-faced Leicesters crossed with a Swaledale” – and a few cows.
“Our village, Nether Heyford, has the biggest village green in the country,” Emily smiles proudly. “It’s incredibly pretty and was a wonderful place to grow up, even though it was quiet.
“Both my dad and my brother look after the farm, but it’s pretty small so they do a lot of contract farm as well. It’s definitely in the blood.”
After A Levels, two years at Moulton College followed where she specialised in livestock.
“Weirdly I was at college with my brother Scott even though he is two years younger,” she remembers. “He went straight after GCSEs, like a lot of people, but because I’d done A Levels I was a couple of years behind. Well, not really behind because I was allowed to specialise when others weren’t, and it was definitely helpful when it came to providing the theory behind the practical.”
It also enabled her to develop her farmer’s wardrobe which, like many, consists of check shirt, deck shoes, Shoffle gilet, Polo belt and white or coloured jeans. “Just as long as they’re not blue jeans,” she adds.
Emily has moved onto the estate with her lorry-mechanic partner but already knew plenty about Sansaw before her arrival.
“I’m great friends with someone who used to work here and she and another friend, Lottie, who lives on a farm in Newtown, are thick as thieves,” Emily laughs. “We’re always together and so I’m really excited to be here.”
Emily started on October 1 as assistant herdsperson and said she found it really welcoming.
“It’s such a friendly team and Bruce is an absolute legend,” she says. “I’ve never been able to sit indoors without getting bored or jittery so life on the dairy is just the best thing imaginable.”
Away from the farm, she admits to a love of drama and musical theatre and relishes the fact she’s “a bit different”.
“There aren’t many people on the farm with these I suppose,” she says, pointing to the nose ring and tattoos.
Her other passion is horses – notably her four-and-a-half-year-old Welsh cob, Prince.
“He’s in Wales at my friend’s farm at the moment but I go up every week to ride him,” Emily explained. “His passport name is Buckswood Billy but he was called Prince when he came to me and it’s bad luck to change his name. He’d had enough bad luck already and was rescued from the side at the road at 10 months old. My plan is to train him to drive but we’ll see what happens.”
As for Christmas, Emily’s delighted to have the festive period off work. Well, technically.
“I’m going home for Christmas but I’m sure dad will find me something to do on the farm!”