Farmer Charles has swapped the milking parlour for his study to write a poem about his life as a dairy farmer, based on Kipling’s ‘If’ poem. Listen to the poem being recited in the video, or read the poem below.
Charles is hoping to inspire you to write your own poem based on a job role you admire. There are lots to choose, from shepherd to engineer, butcher or scientist. Watch farm vet Theeb or beef farmer Richard‘s videos for inspiration.
Be sure to share your poems with us on social media using @Eatfarmnow.
If – life of a dairy farmer
If you can lift your head from your pillow
At times before the dawn chorus,
If you can brave the north wind as it does billow,
To carry on whatever the weather regardless;
If you can be on hand 365 days of the year,
And be prepared for the odd night call,
And play the role of vet, mechanic or engineer,
Nutritionist, problem solver – you’ll be them all:
If you can face the long hours—and not moan and groan;
If you can plant maize and wait to see what it yields;
If you can mother orphans like one of your own
And spend your evenings shepherding in the fields;
If you can work from dawn til dusk
With the satisfaction of feeding the nation
And watch the grain ripen in the husk,
And care for the cow through her whole gestation:
If you can get filthy, yet work away,
And beat the rain to bale straw for bedding,
And milk the herd each end of day
While awaiting results from TB testing;
If you can harvest fields with the sun on your back
And relish the smell of fresh cut grass,
And rest by the hedgerow with a picnic pack
With no two days the same, your expectations will surpass!
If you can share with nature as manage the lands,
Not think of the snow, but the blessing of the first footprints
If you can erase tiredness with the thrill of new life in your hands,
And let sunrises and sunsets in your mind imprint;
If you can forget the long working hours
And enjoy the taste of fresh chilled milk or cream,
Yours is the herd come sunshine or showers,
And—which is more—you can be a Dairy Farmer, that’s the dream!
About Charles and his farm
Charles is a mixed dairy, beef and arable farmer, working in partnership with his father and two brothers in Warwickshire. They milk 350 Holstein cows, using both conventional and robotic systems. They grow wheat, barley, oilseed rape, oats, potatoes and maize over 1300 acres, as well as having diversified into industrial units.
Charles is married to Linda, a primary school teacher, and they have two children, Chloe and Henry. He has a real passion for education and helping people gain a better understanding of the food they eat and how it is produced.
About Just Farmers
Charles was trained in media and video-production by Just Farmers – a project run by BBC Broadcaster and Journalist Anna Jones, and TV self-shooting producer/director, Alex Price.
Discover more fun activities and videos by farmers and chefs in our #LockdownLearning Hub.