Richard Gibson

Richard Gibson has left behind his family and life as a Devon farmer to experience life as a rural Kenyan cattle farmer

Fact titleFact data
Age 49
Lives South Molton, Devon
Family Wife and two daughters

Come rain or shine, winter or summer, Richard's day always starts in the company of 120 Holstein cattle. The milking parlour comes alive at six in the morning with the sound of mooing cows, the clattering of cumbersome milking tubes being attached to their udders like limpets to a stone, and a crackly radio blasting through the parlour to gently ease the cattle and Richard, into the day. It's a familiar routine.

Richard started dairy farming 22 years ago with a small herd. Inspired by his father and forefathers, farming is in his blood. But when Richard was just 15, tragedy struck. His father died after a farming accident, which made Richard's desire to carry on the family business all the stronger.

He grew up in North Yorkshire, and moved to Devon when he found a farm he could afford to fulfil his childhood dream. He now farms nearly 200 acres. It's a family business, and he runs it with the invaluable help of his dedicated and hard-working wife Heather. His two daughters, 21 year old Rachel and 18 year old Rebecca grew up in mud splattered wellies lending a helping hand where they could. Now, they have both left home but regularly return home for Heather's famed Sunday roasts.

The farm is Richards pride and passion, and never a day goes by when he doesn't appreciate the changing colours of the landscape, the serenity of the rolling hills and the vastness of the open Exmoor skies. But recently, as for farmers up and down the UK, times have been tough for Richard. With increasing feed prices and lowering milk prices, it's been increasingly hard to make ends meet. On top of that, the wettest summer for a hundred years made 2012 one of the most challenging years yet.

Every farmer needs a place to share their frustrations, and once a week Richard joins league with ten other farming folk to chew the fat over a pint and a game of skittles. He belongs to no mediocre skittles team though - Richard's team are top of the division and strikes are a plenty in the skittle run in their local pub.

But even if it's a late night, the next morning Richard's alarm goes off at 05:30 and the morning milking routine begins again...

Richard Gibson

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