Rural Photographer Hollie Crawshaw is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from her project ‘ Female Farmers‘. To see Hollie’s portfolio & projects click on any image.
Romana Grange, 34
“For the last 10 years I have been working in the I.T. industry working as a Project Manager. In May 2015, I left my job and both me and my husband joined his parents farm as partners. My husband owns and runs a gun shop which I am now fully engaged in. We have 2 kids under 5 and share the work load of the farm and shop between us. Our farm produces cider apples. Having not been on the farm very long and with no farming background, I am taking over the finances and general management. I am very much the apprentice when it comes to the physical act but gladly take on any of the tasks I can. My jobs include cleaning the apple pit, putting guards around trees, clearing the stakes, harvesting and pruning. I have recently learnt to drive the tractor and trailer and learnt how to use the apple picking machine, so the apple shaker will be next on the agenda! All in all, I love working outside in the countryside but I am still just a learner!”
Laura Boulton, 31
Beef Farmer and Shepherdess
I was born in Newcastle and moved to the countryside when I met my husband who was from Gloucestershire. His father, has a beef farm with around 250 cows where my husband, our daughter and I live in a cottage on the farm land. I have not grown up on a farm. Although I did look into it when I left school, the chances of me having a farm in the city were so far fetched, I didn’t even pursue it! Looking where I am now, I help my farther-in-law daily with his cattle. Jabbing, shaving, moving, tagging, sending to slaughter, loading, feeding, bedding, paperwork, passports, TB tests, foot trimming, I can do pretty much everything! A coupe of years ago, I bought 12 ewe lambs as a hobby to graze on some spare land we had. I had little experience but enjoyed it so much, I started to breed them for extra income. I now manage 2 rams and 127 ewes with lots more to come after lambing this year!
I love farming, there’s nothing better! The calves that come into the world are always the most beautiful ones I have ever seen and I have come to love sheep, especially new born lambs! Cow caesarians were a bit strange to get used to at first, with lots of blood and gore. However, it’s now old hat and I’m use to everything that happens on the farm. I am a novice when it comes to farming but I learn a great deal on the job. This year will be my second lambing season and I am really looking forward to it!”
Maria Greaves, 29
“I had horses from the age of 7 as my mum has always been interested in equestrian. At the age of 18 I left college and joined Avon and Somerset police as a community support worker. By this time my younger brother had bought some sheep and I had been helping him with lambing. He invited me to go along to a local event put on by the Young Farmers and it was there that I met my husband. He was studying a degree in agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University and I really enjoyed spending time on the farms with him and being around animals. Once he graduated we moved in together on a farm, he became a herdsman and the rest is history! I’ve always enjoyed being outside and going to local agricultural shows. I got heavily involved in the Young Farmers and realised I loved the rural life style. I had a baby daughter in 2012 and both me and my husband felt ready to progress onto our own farm. At the time we were living in Somerset, I was working for the local veterinary practice and my husband was a herd manager for a 360 cow dairy unit.
We spotted a contract farming advert in the Farmers Guardian and was not sure where it was or what it involved but we sent our CV off anyway! After lots of meetings and discussions we signed contracts to farm Much Fawley Farm on the Herefordshire borders and we love our new lifestyle! It’s been hard to set up and we’ve had to buy cows, machinery, provide staff and find our feet very quickly! We have a 10 year contract and work a mechanical dairy farm, so all our cows are milked via an automatic system with some very modern technology!”
By Hollie Crawshaw