Amy Eggleston is a fifth generation dairy farmer from Leicestershire. She works on their family dairy farm which milks 500 cows twice a day, sending milk to Long Clawson Dairy to be made into Stilton Cheese. Having previously worked in marketing and PR in London, Amy made the move to return to her roots on the farm and hasn’t looked back ever since. She now documents daily farm life on her Instagram account (@thedairydaughter), and has amassed almost 10,000 followers showcasing the truth behind the industry.
As well as her full-time role on the farm, Amy also runs her own PR and communications business, Pastures Green Communications. She endeavours to help rural and agricultural businesses promote themselves, grow their audience and best tell their story. She also writes a monthly column for the Farmers Weekly.
The current pandemic highlights the continuous hardwork and dedication of our farmers, growers and producers here in the UK.
How has the pandemic affected you and have you had to adapt as a result?
When the pandemic first began, the dairy industry was undoubtably put under massive strain. Like many producers and growers, the country was demanding increasingly more of our product – but the supply chain was struggling to keep up! There were stories on the news of farmers who had to throw all their milk down the drain, simply because there were not enough lorry tanker drivers to collect it (due to self isolation rules)! Fortunately for us, it did not come to this extreme – but we still had to adapt quickly. We work as a small but vital team of 5 – whilst the rest of the nation stayed at home and avoided their workplace, our team had to carry on! After all, the cows still need milking twice everyday. We took extra precautions with social distancing, and ensured we came into contact with the minimum amount of people as possible. If someone on the farm caught COVID-19, it would put our business under massive strain!
Since then, though, things have improved. We feel extremely fortunate to still be able to do our jobs, care for our animals, and spend time outside in the great british countryside. We are, after all, producing a product that everyone needs, so seeing people so passionate about buying local and supporting farm shops etc has been really heart warming. We work 365 days a year to ensure our animals have everything they need and to produce a vital, versatile product – milk!
The recent online ‘Farm24’ campaign helped to showcase British Farming. Do you feel social media has an important role to play moving forward to help promote and inform a wider audience about the dairy industry?
Definitely. I for one have seen this myself. I set up my social media farming accounts just over two years ago, and the response has been immense. People from all walks of life have been in touch to say they’ve learnt something new – all just from me documenting my day to day life! Farming is my life – and it’s central to everything I do – but I am lucky because I see what happens every single day! Some people don’t have access to a farm and therefore can’t see what happens behind the scenes in producing British food – so social media gives us a way to show them! We have an opportunity to squash rumours and myths that exist with the facts.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My alarm goes off at 4am (very early, I know), and I head to the farm to start work at 4.30am. We are a team of 5 but everyone has different, important jobs. The first job of the day is to get the cows in from their field and get them milked. This takes around 2-2.5 hours and then the cows will spend the day grazing in their field. They move to a new field onto fresh grass twice daily. Once milking is done, we do other jobs around the farm and from February to April each cow will have a calf. After breakfast, I plan which fields the cows will move to next, and spend some time catching up on emails for Pastures Green Communications. We also spend time improving fences, checking water troughs are running as they should, and other behind the scenes important jobs. At 2pm, the cows come in once again to be milked for a second time. It’s a busy but varied role!
On the farm what…
Is your main role? Ensuring the cows always have enough fresh grass to go on to, and that everyone knows where they will be heading next! I measure the grass once a week to ensure I know how much feed is in each field.
Is your favourite job? Caring for the youngstock. Our cows all calve in a 12 week period which starts February 1st, and I love seeing the calves grow up and re-join our herd.
Breeds do you keep? Our cows are mainly Frieisian black and white cows!
Do you have an interesting dairy fact for us?
Cows have 4 stomachs & are in calf for 9 months.
What piece of advice would you give anyone considering a career in farming?
If you’re willing to get stuck in and learn – DO IT! Go and volunteer to help at a local farm or just ask for some work experience. You don’t need qualifications – you’ll learn it by doing it!
When you get the chance, what hobbies do you enjoy outside of the farm?
I enjoy walks, skiing, shooting and seeing my friends. Oh, and catching up on sleep!!
Just for fun…
Favourite staycation destination? Norfolk or Cornwall
Favourite food/recipe? That’s hard. I LOVE food! I think cheese. Anything to do with cheese
Favourite thing about the countryside? The peace and quiet. Hearing the birds. The fresh air! The freedom. Seeing my cows happy! Everything!
LCC Founder & Creative Director
Hello and welcome to the LCC. I'm a rural-loving mum (of the horse, human and dog variety!) living in Cheshire in the North West of England. For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination with the great outdoors. Eager to understand the 'how' and the 'why' of the world around us. I created this platform where we can connect and share our love of the the countryside and rural life.