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Tom Chapman

Holding Number 3, Staffordshire

Tom always wanted to be a sheep farmer despite coming from a line of dairy farmers. Growing up in Warwickshire, Tom kept a small number of sheep and as he grew his flock, managed to rent pieces of land locally.

Tom built up a contract shepherding business after gaining a national diploma in agriculture at Moreton Morrell College, and also spent some time in New Zealand to gain experience. He was also part of the team lambing a 5,000-strong flock in Cumbria.

Two years ago Tom and his fiancé Holly secured a 10 year farm business tenancy on an 88.5 acre (37 hectare) farm in Eccleshall, Staffordshire.  They also rent a further 70 acres (28ha) locally and run a flock of 330 ewes and 100 ewe lambs.

The original flock mainly consisted of mule ewes which were put to a Texel or Texel-cross ram. Tom runs a closed flock and keeps ewe lambs which are tupped with Berrichon and Charollais rams.

He is also looking to increase rotational grazing on his farm to benefit from better grass utilisation as well as locating more grazing land to rent locally with the intention of expanding further.

Tom is part of the current NSA young ambassador programme which he hopes will help with industry networking as well as providing an opportunity to gain knowledge.

As well as working on the farm Mr Chapman works part time at Market Drayton and Ludlow livestock markets grading and sorting lambs. Another channel of income for Tom is through breeding, training and selling sheepdogs.

Looking to the future, Tom hopes to be ready to move onto another, larger council holding once his 10-year tenancy is up. He also is of the opinion that farmers should be doing more on social media to promote the agricultural industry and thinks that future challenges could be faced with the rise of veganism.