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Winter Preparation on the Farm for our Dual-Career Surveyor

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Winter Preparation on the Farm for our Dual-Career Surveyor

Andrew Pinny, Rural Surveyor and part of our Towcester office team, not only works within the Howkins & Harrison rural team full time, but also runs a small farm business of his own while still being involved in the family farming business during the hours outside of his ‘day job.’

Andrew Pinny

Andrew tenants a farm of circa 65 acres of pasture in Warwickshire, upon which he, his partner Vicky and 8-year-old son Freddie, run 70 pedigree Texel ewes and followers, a small number of pedigree Longhorn cows and calves as well as a menagerie of family pets. Andrew is well supported from his family as well as by the team at Howkins. Running the farm gives Andrew a first-hand insight to the struggles – and joys, of farming and the team at Howkins wholeheartedly support this, ensuring that Andrew is able to succeed in both of his chosen careers, in synergy with one another. It helps that Andrew never sits still and is one of the hardest working and most committed people you will ever meet, however, having such a demanding life outside of work is a challenge and not for the feint hearted!

‘I wouldn’t change my life for the world’ says Andrew when we caught up with him to find out what is happening on the farm at the moment. ‘The two ends of my day are poles apart in one way, but mirror images in another. I get such a valuable insight and knowledge of what my clients are going through and the challenges that they are facing presently from the farm – as well as looking towards the future and what changes are coming over the horizon, that in my surveyor role, not only can I help and advise my clients, but I have a deep rooted empathy for their situation too.’

We asked Andrew what was happening on the farm right now….

‘Over the past two weekends we have been preparing for wintering of the livestock. Last year we had to house the cattle in the shed where we were hoping to lamb the ewes so ended up with ewes and lambs in every little spare corner that we could muster.’

‘Other than the roof that we hired contractors to put on for us, we have put everything else up ourselves. We dismantled the old shed carefully and managed to take the roof apart section by section, with the plan to re-use it as cladding on the new shed. The steelwork and the roof were new, but everything else, we managed to salvage and re-use, which was a great cost saving. I’m just like any other farmer up and down the country- anything to save cost!’

Apart from the building works, we asked Andrew what else he was up to on the farm at the moment…

‘At the moment, the farm is all about tidying up the loose ends before winter – not dissimilar to my role at H&H where we are trying to get tasks completed and jobs finished ahead of the start of the new year. These things always take more time than you expect but starting the new year with a fresh page on the To Do list at work and at home is always invigorating. Of course, the animals have no idea that we are heading towards the end of the year and that I’d like to get a few things ticked off the list, so I’m sure I’ll face a few curve balls before 2021. Again – not unlike the work I do on HS2 really!’

We asked Andrew, why he challenges himself to run two careers at once?

‘The two really do feed into one another perfectly well, but it’s indecision that drove me here initially! Throughout my studies I knew I wanted a professional role as a Rural Surveyor as I relish the challenges that the role brings as well as the opportunity to help British farmers. But I just wasn’t prepared to give up life on a farm despite the financial pressures it can bring. I want Freddie to experience what it is to live on a farm, the work ethic that the lifestyle instils from a young age – giving him the skills to take farming forward as a career if he so chooses and I just love being involved in the life-cycle that farming provides. I am passionate about animal welfare, pedigree livestock and the genetics behind it and trying to breed better livestock year on year.

‘The farm is close enough to our head office in Rugby for me to work from there on the days that I know lambs might be making an entrance. I have embraced technology to allow a lamb-cam app on  my phone and can watch from the office whilst working on H&H projects, pop home, help a ewe to lamb over lunchtime and be back in the office for the afternoon. I’ve also been known to bring lambs who need a bit of extra help into the office in Towcester with me. We are on the top floor away from the meeting rooms or front office, it’s warm and quiet – a perfect spot for a little one who needs attention.’

‘We will soon be pregnancy scanning the ewes and the cycle begins all over again. As long as there isn’t another spate of home-schooling for Freddie thrown into the mix, we should be on for a relatively calm couple of months ahead of the new cohort making their appearance in the spring.’

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