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Sister might have to give up dream of running family farm

By Rachel Martin

Published 05/09/2015

Victoria Minford and her friend
Victoria Minford and her friend

A teenager has said she fears her ambition to run her family's farm is under threat because of the current agricultural crisis.

Victoria Minford (17) dreams of taking over her father's beef and sheep farm. She is about to begin a course in agriculture at Greenmount but said that the current crisis worried her and had made her consider having to diversify the farm into another type of business.

She said: "It's going to affect the full sector and I don't know if there's a good future for it. I thought I should come today to stand up and do my bit for the industry. My dad wants to support me and see me do well with the farm, but it is worrying and it makes things very difficult at the moment."

Victoria's sister Sarah (19) is studying law but said she would be disappointed if her sister did not have the chance to farm: "I was a member of Young Farmers too but Victoria was always the one who was very interested in farming. It's tradition which runs through families and I'd be disappointed to see our family not farming.

"Because of how our farm is laid out in a courtyard, we have the potential for a farm shop or restaurant but it's not something we really want to do at the moment."

James Coulter's grandson Charlie might only be a toddler but already he loves to help out with the family's sheep. James worries that Charlie's future as a farmer will not be so bright if prices continue the way they are.

He said: "I would really like him to go into farming but, at the minute, I really worry about things because of my younger family.

"I'm not a dairy man but there's a lot of dairy farmers who have invested big money in their businesses and are seeing their livelihoods being wiped away. Sheep farming is more of a way of life, you won't make much money at it but there is a little if it's run right."

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