Jim Burston is Assistant Farm Manager at the Tillington estate. Here he tells us why no two days are ever the same and how he got into farming.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The variety of the job. No two days are ever the same, thanks to the weather, the crop and the people.
I also like knowing that what we grow is going to be eaten by the customer and the fact that our crop can be on the supermarket shelves within a couple of days.
The other plus point is working with many different people from all over the world. It certainly keeps me on my toes!
Any big projects happening at Tillington farm in the next 12 months?
We are extending the tunnelled cherry area to include some new varieties, which will mean a longer picking season both earlier and later in the year.
We’ll also continue to be plant around 12 hectares of intensive dessert apples on post and wire systems, each year and we’re set to introduce our new hydrostatic picking platform – which will hopefully reduce our picking costs.
How long have you been working with Farmcare?
I joined in May 2010 and have spent time in Farmcare’s Scottish estate – Blairgowrie, as well as a year at Highland Court, followed by 4 months in their Manchester headquarters. Since Spring 2012 I’ve been at Tillington.
Are you from a farming background?
No, my Dad is a Vicar in rural North Northumberland. His flock is generally farming families and therefore I have always been involved and loved that way of life. It has always seemed natural to work on the land and perhaps my dad’s role has helped me understand the people side of horticulture.
What would your top tips be for someone joining the agricultural business?
Experience as many different farming sectors as possible, even if you don’t plan to stay in them long term.
Get out there and milk cows, feed pigs and pick eggs. You will be surprised what you end up enjoying. Be prepared to move around for a few years to get the best experiences. I had no intention of being involved in horticulture but now I love it.