“Farming is a fast-moving, progressive industry so there is always new science we need to be aware of and innovative, more efficient ways of doing things,” says Kim Brickell, a farm manager at one of Wales’ most popular family destinations, Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, near Tenby.
Earlier this year, Pembrokeshire born Kim (30) was awarded the Farming Connect Animal Health & Welfare trophy at the Lantra Wales annual awards ceremony. The award was in recognition of her outstanding commitment to continuous professional development (CPD) and effectively applying her new knowledge and skills to what she describes as her ‘dream’ job.
Kim says that Farming Connect’s fully-funded e-learning courses have enabled her to ‘keep up to speed in my own time and at my own pace’, which has not only increased her skillset but enables her to impart that knowledge to other members of the Folly Farm team coming up behind her.
“The range of support services available through Farming Connect, including Animal Health and Welfare workshops, open day events and very wide range of farm-related topics I’ve studied through e-learning have given me new skills and knowledge I utilise every day.”
Kim’s role is to look after the health, welfare and general husbandry of the farm’s flocks of rare sheep and goats, speciality breeds of pigs and poultry as well as a large number of small petting animals.
Although not brought up on a farm, Kim’s love of the outdoors and animals started at a young age and while still a sixth former, she helped out at Folly Farm in her spare time. The entrepreneurial dairy farming family at Folly Farm quickly spotted her dedication and ability. After completing her A levels, she was appointed as a full-time assistant, a role she combined with studying for a foundation degree in animal science at Pembrokeshire College.
Since then, it’s been a steady progression up through the Folly Farm ranks: Kim, along with a co-manager and team of six staff, is responsible for the smooth running of the agricultural and farm animal side of the business. She is also involved in the farm’s soil and grassland strategies, both topics she’s studied through Farming Connect.
So, what’s next for this ambitious young farmer?
“Sustainable farming is a key focus at Folly Farm and in addition to our biomass system and solar panels, we recycle most waste including nappies and plastic left by visitors.
“Next on my CPD agenda is to learn what else we can do to reduce our carbon footprint – through Farming Connect of course!”
Farming Connect, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
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