Lizi Clubley: Britain’s award-winning female farmer

It’s not everyday you find someone who smashes gender stereotypes in the workplace quite as much as Lizi Forbes (nee Clubley) does.

Aged just 27, Forbes has a diploma in horticulture and works as a farmer at Skirlaugh near Hull in Yorkshire.

She’s not afraid to get down and dirty on the farm, and works mostly with the livestock – pigs and turkeys.

You wouldn’t think being knee-deep in animal muck and hoisting feed around all day would be conducive to looking good; but earlier this year, Forbes was voted Britain’s Sexiest Female Farmer by Farmer’s Weekly magazine.

We caught up with the agricultural star to get the low down on a job not many of us have a clue about.

1. How did you know you wanted to be a farmer?

To be totally honest, I didn’t know I wanted to be a farmer. Its a job I fell sideways into! I’ve always been an outdoors type, right from being a small child growing up on a retired dairy farm making dens and climbing trees. My best friend was a collie dog called “Nelly” , and I always knew I wanted to work outdoors and with animals.

2. How did you get started?

I was very fortunate to be offered a job with a farming family close to home. I originally started working for them as their gardener. This was my own business when I left school as ‘Bizzie Lizzies’.

I get stuck into my work and I’m a self confessed perfectionist, this didn’t go unnoticed and the family offered me work on the farm and I’ve never looked back!

3. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far?

There hasn’t been one specific important moment, its all pretty epic. Winning Britain’s Sexiest Farmer earlier this year was really humbling and such great fun. It’s great to be an ambassador for farming and to encourage the younger generations and especially women into a mostly male-dominated work environment.

It’s often mucky, smelly and tough work but there’s nothing I can’t do that the men can!

4. Talk us through your day…

Every day is different. A friend once described my job as being like an advent calendar.

You never know what lies beyond the front door each day until it unfolds! There’s jobs that need to be done which stay similar like checking livestock, bedding up and feeding them; but other days it can depend on the weather and the time of year.

Harvest days are long busy days in tractors, winter days are more for maintenance jobs such as chopping down old trees and planting new hedges.

5. What are the best and worst things about your job?

The best things often go hand in hand with the worst things! I really enjoy tending to the livestock. I find caring for them very satisfying and it’s great to see your animals happy and healthy but when you lose any to illness it’s heart-breaking.

When the sun shines it’s really the best job in the world – imagine the perfect summer’s day and doing a job you love? But when it rains it pours and it can become pretty miserable very quickly!!

6. What do you think people don’t realise about your job?

That it’s 24/7. More so when you keep animals as they rely on you to feed, water and house them. Arable farming is just as much work but more flexible.

People don’t realise you need a doctor perhaps once or twice a year. A mechanic every couple of months. But a farmer you need every day and at least three times a day. That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always treat others the way you would like to be treated.

8. What advice would you give someone looking to work in the same field?

This is not a career for the faint hearted, but stick at it and the rewards are endless. You will get cold, wet and smelly, but you will also get job satisfaction.

9. What are your career goals?

To one day have my own small holding of rare and native breeds. There are a lot of old fashioned breeds fast heading towards being lost forever, which really saddens me. We cross-breed our cattle, sheep and pigs nowadays to create faster growing, higher yielding animals and in the process are losing the original and native species.

10. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Don’t worry about the small stuff , just be yourself and go where your heart takes you.

Follow Lizi Forbes on Twitter here