A TALENTED award-winning young farmer has told how delighted she is to be presented with a regional farming award.

Rosie Squire (17) has been awarded the Apprentice/Student of the Year at the South West Farmer Awards 2023 having already won the Cornish Mutual Young Farmer Bursary (Duchy College) in 2022.

Rose is a very busy person, combining studying at Duchy College three days a week and working on Sundays at Mole Valley Farmers, while on the remaining days she helps on the family farm at Northlew, near Okehampton both overseeing a pedigree sheep breeding programme and a mountain of paperwork.

She said: “At the beginning of this year I was surprised to win the Cornish Mutual Young Farmer Bursary and, I assume off the back of that, someone (I still have no idea who) nominated me for the South West Farmer Awards 2023 Apprentice/Student of the Year. I was told I was nominated in May but thought that would be the last I heard, but in August I was informed I was a finalist and was invited to the South West Farmer 2023 Awards black tie evening at Taunton. Before the awards night, the organisers South West Farmer sent a photographer out to film a short bio about me on our farm. My family joined me for what was a lovely evening celebrating farming in the South West at Taunton.

“I was so surprised to be announced the winner, for simply working hard and doing what I absolutely love. I felt so honoured to be standing on stage at the end of the ceremony with some of the best people in South West agriculture. It was a once in a lifetime evening.”

She grew up on the fourth generation beef and sheep family farm near Okehampton and ‘loves it’. On leaving Okehampton College she went to Duchy College to study a Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture and is now in her second year studying the extended diploma. She was again ‘lucky’, she said, to secure a work experience placement with North Park Farm Vets (one day a week for six months): “I accompanied their vets and learnt so much about farm animals, over and above what I already know from our own animals, from the farms and animals we visite. It was a great experience and I will always be extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave me.

“I also work part-time for Mole Valley Farmers and have been lucky enough to spend some time with their head of grassland and agronomy learning about the soil on our farm. In time I would like to become a farm animal technician or specialist as well as continuing to keep stock of my own.”

Roiuse added: “On our farm I am very much hands-on, caring for all the animals on a daily basis and their welfare is my priority. We farm beef and sheep (several of which I own). I personally look after the breeding programme of our flock of Pedigree Shropshire sheep, we breed them primarily to graze woodland, vineyards and orchards as they don’t damage the trees unlike other breeds. I also look after much of the paperwork (and there’s a lot) surrounding the animals. My favourite time of year is lambing season, its hard work but I love it.”

At the end of this academic year she is considering continuing studying for a degree in agriculture to open up more career opportunities in the future.