At AgriWebb, we love working with farmers to make their lives easier and their businesses a success. That’s why, when we’re hiring staff, we look for people who have experience in the agricultural industry.
No staff induction can help you understand the trials a farmer faces, as well as a night shift in a lambing shed, or putting up electric fences in the rain.
Up until now, our “farm-tested” recruits have come from families that have worked in agriculture for generations. That’s where our new team member differs from the rest. With no background in farming, he forged an unconventional path into the industry, on the back of his rugby talents, at the age of 24.
Josh Brock’s career path, coupled with his overseas experience, has given him an interesting perspective on the industry. We spoke to him about his work to date and found out why he’s excited to join AgriWebb…
Why did you want to get into the agricultural industry?
I grew up in Horsham, West Sussex, and had no real links to farming. I wanted a job that meant something to me and I wasn’t finding that in retail.
I thought food production was important, and I like working hard and being outdoors. Getting involved in agriculture meant I could be a part of something bigger than myself.
How did you break into the industry?
I didn’t know how to do it in the UK, but I had the opportunity to play for a rugby team in the Whitsundays, Australia, in exchange for a job on a farm.
I worked for free at the start and took any opportunity that came up, just to get on the radar. I did a lot of work on sugar cane farms, learning to drive tractors and using this experience to work my way up into better job roles.
What other experience did you have?
After a year in Australia, I went to New Zealand to work with livestock. I lived there for one and a half years, starting on a dairy farm and progressing to a mixed sheep, beef, arable and deer farm. That’s where my passion for stock farming was allowed to flourish.
When I came home, I was offered a job with Rob Hodgkins in Hertfordshire. He taught me a great deal about sheep farming in the UK but it helped that he uses a New Zealand style of sheep farming. From there, I went back to Western Australia for a harvest and then found myself on a terrific family led farm running a large flock of Merinos. That’s where I learnt a lot about extensive grazing and wool.
When I came back for good, I did four lambings, which varied from looking after the lambing sheds through the night on a farm in Aberystwyth, to overseeing outdoor lambing in East Sussex. I wanted to gain as much experience as possible about UK sheep farming.
What perspective has your career given you on the agricultural industry?
I feel lucky that I’ve learnt all these different ways of farming, with a variety of livestock. You learn so much from seeing how farmers in different parts of the world do their job.
Working in Australia and New Zealand, I learnt that if a farm business was not efficient it would not be viable. That’s an essential lesson for UK farms, as subsidies decrease in the years ahead. Management decisions have to make economic sense, and I think the fact that I don’t come from a farming background helps me look past traditions and see what’s best for a particular farm.
To support the practical experience I’ve had, I’m continuing my formal education with a Masters in International Agribusiness at Harper Adams. Helping farmers is my ultimate objective, and I want to continue to build my knowledge to that end.
How do you feel about joining AgriWebb?
I’m super excited with the opportunity that’s in front of me. It’s exciting to have a job where I can give back to agriculture because it’s given me so many amazing experiences.
With AgriWebb, we’re giving farmers a tool that allows them to record exactly what they’re doing day to day, so they know where their inputs on the farm are. We’re offering a more efficient way of record keeping, as opposed to the traditional pen and notebook (which I may or may not have lost over the years!). You might be so busy one week, you forget something like exactly when you drenched a set of lambs. Come inspection time that can cost a farmer money, but you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it.
AgriWebb is pushing for what’s economically beneficial for the farmer. What gets me excited is all the different ways to go about farming, and finding what works for a particular enterprise as a farmer strives for perfection. None of that happens if a farm isn’t economically viable, and AgriWebb gets that.
If you’d like to speak to Josh or book a demo, call 0772 350 4669 or get in contact on our live chat today – he’s more than happy to help!