Throughout my life I have always considered myself to be your average girl. My favourite colour is pink, I know all the words to every Beyoncé song, I am very partial to G and T’s, I enjoy gossiping a little too much and I have pet cows. Yes…pet cows.
Welcome to the world of a farmer’s daughter.
Farming, the oldest profession in the world and is still a topic that very few people know anything about. Strange considering that without the industry we would have a chronic lack of food and no land management. Having had the privilege of growing up on a farm I have been lucky enough to learn the ins and outs of farming life, whilst also living the life of a normal girl. I like to think that I have breezed through the last twenty years combining these two aspects of my life with ease, however the reality is that there are many conflicts – some more amusing than others – which make the life of a farmer’s daughter a particularly unconventional one.
The first notable incident which occurred, as a result of my farming background, was one at nursery. The toys were out and as we were playing with the miniature plastic animals I successfully managed to disrupt my entire class by explaining why a Jersey bull could not be put with a Friesian bull in the toy farm set. This included going into the genitalia of cows of various breeds, much to the teacher’s horror. I was just four years old.
School was no different. In my school life, I was one of very few people who came from a farming background. I can distinctly remember being shocked as a six year old about how little my peers knew about where their food came from when I knew that I had been eating Pepsi (one of our cherished Aberdeen Angus cows) the night before.
It should be noted that having cows as pets can be quite the the emotional roller-coaster: not only is waving goodbye to your favourite pets as they are sent off to be killed for meat a distressing sight to see but failed TB tests and slipped calves can result in days of sadness too. In case you think I am sounding extremely odd, tune into Countryfile, Sunday evenings on BBC1, where presenter Adam Henson often displays these same emotions.
As I grew out of primary school and into senior school other issues started to arise. If you have ever lived on or even visited a farm you will have noticed that they are often found in the middle of nowhere. Signal does not exist in the middle of no-where. If you are somebody who has received a call from me while I am in residence at home you should be extremely honoured as it means that I have ran up the hill in order to make it. Similarly the hours spent swearing over the faulty, barely-existent internet connection added to the bane of English and History coursework deadlines. This was only made worse by the fact that it was calving time. Coursework and calving time always go hand in hand. It’s a fact of life.
Now, having read this brief excerpt into my life, you may think that I have not enjoyed being brought up on a farm. I have to admit that I was a fairly poor excuse for a farmer’s daughter, only helping when I wanted to and conveniently finding something else to do when it was cold and wet. And yet despite this, I decided that I couldn’t turn my back on the world grew up in. I am not Helen the Hipster or Helen the Edgy – Hedgy for short – I am instead a country girl and proud to be one. And so, to the early teenage Helen’s dismay, I applied to agricultural college at the age of 17 and now live and study there – and I couldn’t feel more at home. It’s a place full of people who have pet cows, talk about lambing and snapchat each other photos of tractors. Just your average place really.
Helen Gregory is a student at the Royal Agricultural University. She studies Land Management. She is often referred to as GregOR – it is important to stress the OR – and is often compared to Harriet Bentley from Wild Child. If you want a farmer’s daughter to perform the entire Single Ladies dance routine for you, Helen’s your girl.
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