Thursday 30 November, 2023

Young Farmer Focus - Ruth Clapham: "We hope our journey will inspire others"

Ruth Clapham, 34, is a dairy farmer from Halifax in West Yorkshire.

clock • 2 min read
Young Farmer Focus - Ruth Clapham: "We hope our journey will inspire others"


Myself and my husband Tom are both dairy farmers who focus on producing high solids milk from forage for a dairy business in the Cheshire Peak District of Wincle.

Tom is the farm manager at one of the units, while I rear youngstock, including dairy replacements for all three units on the farm.

Neither of us came from farming families. Tom grew up next door to a beef farm on the hills outside Halifax in Rishworth and I grew up in the village of Skirlaugh in East Yorkshire, where I found an enjoyment for agriculture.

We both attended Bishop Burton College in Beverley at 16 years old and that is where we met, had a college romance and got married at 23.

We have two children Freddie (eight) and Minnie (five) who are our world.

Sustainable farming

Sustainable farming in the future is really important to us because we feel it goes hand in hand with our passion and enthusiasm for the industry.

Watching old footage of dairy farming from the 1970s recently really opened our eyes to the realisation of how a lot of farmers are now trying to replicate some of the old techniques into farming today.

While we do not propose going back to milking abreast with cows tied up in stalls, we both feel you can graze cows effectively with efficient schemes from that period to produce good quality milk.


We have been given the opportunity to buy cows that we now lease to the farm on a cow hire basis.

Watching our own calves grow, mature and then join the herd after calving, has got to be one of the greatest moments of our careers to date. It is one of the joys of farming which we are grateful to see and be part of.

Over the last few years, Tom and I have spent time working on up-skilling ourselves to help us when looking at Farm Business Tenancies and contract farming agreements.

It has provided us with an insight into what areas of the business we need to work on; including budgets, cash flow, staff management and some of the more hands-on farm qualifications such as foot trimming and AI.

Motivational: Last year, we were part of a group of other like-minded farmers who took part in the 2022 Entrepreneurs in Dairy course.

This has been massively helpful in keeping us motivated and focused about the industry while introducing us to new friendships which I hope will last for years to come.

We hope that our journey will inspire other people from non-farming backgrounds to take up a career in agriculture as more opportunities open up to work in this exciting industry.


2020 John Deere 865M Gator

2020 John Deere 865M Gator


2021 Honda SxS Buggy

2021 Honda SxS Buggy


Longdog GP Quad trailer

Longdog GP Quad trailer


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