Finalists: Young Farmer of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual

Harriet Gallagher, of Nafferton Farm, Newcastle University

Harriet Gallagher, 22, graduated in 2019 with a degree in agriculture from Newcastle University, where she got her first taste of dairy farming, and now lives on site at the uni's Nafferton Farm, where she is assistant herd manager.

Now milking 300 Holstein Friesians, rearing calves and involved in all associated processes, she is working closely with the herd manager to improve the herd performance. Previously the dairy herd had been bred for show quality animals, and this needed to be redressed to make the farm a profitable in its own right.

Milk yields have not increased over the last year, but this is down to changing from a year-round calving system to having a distinct, two period calving system. With everything now aligned, 2021 should produce better yields.

The top 50 per cent of milk producers in the herd will now receive sexed black and white semen to produce good milk producing replacement heifers. The other 50 per cent of the herd have now been served by one of the three Long Horn bulls which arrived on farm in early October 2019. They now have 80 Long Horn cross calves and have decided to rear them in-house, setting up a new beef enterprise. Harriet is also keen to improve grass use with better rotation, and in the Autumn of 2019 oversaw the installation of a new Allflex heat detection and performance system for the dairy herd.

Harriet travels home to Tow Law, County Durham, a few times a week, where she has a few sheep of her own, and has also rented a further 30 acres of land from the university in order to increase her flock. Predominantly Mule gimmers, they are due to start lambing on April 1.

Last year she joined the Arla R500 group for young people involved in the dairy industry, and also helped set up the North East Grazing Group, aimed primarily at local dairy farmers.


Max Bradley, of Clocken Syke Farm, Dacre, Pateley Bridge

SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Max Bradley left school last year and now works on the family farm, which runs to 120 acres of owned land, with another two acres on a long rental. The farm is all grass, which is used for grazing, and hay and silage production, and runs 42 sucklers with followers and a flock of 240 breeding ewes, plus replacements and a few tups.

While still at school, Max was keen to help with all of the animals around the farm and as he got older was eager to get more involved with tractors and the machinery. He began also working/helping out on a neighbouring farm, where he now works several days a week, milking twice a day as well as learning other skills associated with the dairy industry. The farm also has sheep and rears store cattle. The remainder of the time he is working at home with his dad, and will take local courses as available, such as tractor and fork lift driving.

Max owns about 40 sheep himself, mainly Zwartbles and Zwartbles cross Texels. He keeps a few lambs for his own flock and sells the rest, ploughing his money back into farming investment. This year he bought his own Blue Texel ram. Max's flock run in with his dad's sheep.

Max Bradley

Max Bradley

He really enjoys his work with sheep and is never happier than when he is working with the stock. He is passionate about herd-care and is very conscientious about routine dosing and dipping and footcare.

With Max’s growing skill with machinery, he has invested in a post knocker to carry out some fencing work at home and possibly some neighbouring farms – a step towards small contracting jobs.

Max is very concerned about the bad publicity farms and farmers get about environmental issues and meat production, and while he is quite shy about speaking up publicly, is very happy to work behind the scenes on these issues.

Katie Sanderson, of East Hollin Carr, Trimdon

Katie grew up on the family-owned livestock farm which is currently run by her father John and his two brothers. It carries 500 commercial breeding sheep which are running as an "easy care" flock, and there are also 200 beef suckler cows.

While Katie has always been very interested in the farm and is able to turn her hand to most tasks, the farm is not able to support another full-time worker, so knowing she would have to learn another trade Katie trained as a school teacher and now teaches in a local primary school.

Katie deals with the farm's accounting, and computerised record keeping, and is passionate about the farming industry, sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with young farmers around the country at every opportunity. She has been involved with local young farmer groups from an early age and currently spends all of her "spare" time undertaking various roles within Elwick Young Farmers. She is currently secretary and sister Emma is treasurer.

Katie Sanderson

Katie Sanderson

Katie is also rally chairman, organising various events, rallies and teams for both local and national events, and in 2018 won the NFYFC National Young Farmer of the year Award, following on from her win as Northern YFC Member of the Year in March that year..

She has also represented the county at national level in public speaking events and during 2020 her young farmers' club has remained active online, support particularly the older and vulnerable members of the community.

In 2020 Katie took on the role of county vice-chairman for YFC and also the role of national competitions steering group vice–chairman. She wants to ensure that there continues to be some fantastic young farmers coming along and aims to support and encourage them as the industry evolves.

  • The Northern Farmer Awards 2021 will take place – virtually – on Thursday, February 25. Log onto at 7pm to watch the ceremony. Get involved on social media using #northernfarmerawards