Sophie Bell: ‘Look forward to the days where we don’t take everything for granted’

Between balancing university, farming and her social media presence, Co. Cavan’s Sophie Bell is a very busy woman. She continued all of this during one of the most difficult years many have ever experienced, and managed to stay positive through it all.

Ahead of her AgriLand Instagram takeover tomorrow (Friday, January 22), she said that 2020 wasn’t ideal, “but all I can do is just get on with it and look forward to the days where we don’t take everything for granted”.

However, the 22-year-old is no stranger to challenges: She is in her final year of studying agriculture with animal science at Harper Adams University in the UK, an experience she said has helped her to grow.

Currently home and helping out with the family farm in Virginia, she is also balancing working full days at her desk doing assignments.

“The farm is a calf-to-beef enterprise, we switched from sucklers a few years ago and this enterprise suits us at the moment because we are all either working or studying full-time,” the young farmer said.

“We mainly have Belgian Blues and some Herefords, as well as some pedigree Belted Galloways.

I help out whenever I can, however, recently, I’ve taken a step back to focus on finishing my degree. We were personally happy with the prices and weights achieved this year with the stock.

Bell has also worked several other jobs part-time throughout the past few years and worked on a dairy farm throughout college, however, she said she is now “just focusing on my degree at the moment as there isn’t a whole pile of time for anything else unfortunately”.

“But, I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to farming and away from the laptop/desk,” she continued.

“I’m mainly interested in the calf side of the things, especially dairy heifer calves. I’ve been doing a lot of work in college regarding the pre-weaning and post-weaning phase, and the effects it can have on future performance of the dairy heifer.

I am carrying out a thesis at the moment on the dairy heifer calf and health. I also have an interest in sustainability, it’s a very important aspect of the future of agriculture.

Bell said the highlights of studying in the UK have been “meeting new people”, and “gaining new experiences and memories that wouldn’t have happened if I stayed home”.

“I’ve grown so much these past few years and I definitely think moving away and putting myself outside my comfort zone has been very beneficial,” she said.

“The past year has certainly been different and I think nearly everyone has suffered in some way with the circumstances.

“It hasn’t been ideal, but all I can do is just get on with it and look forward to the days where we don’t take everything for granted.”

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see Bell in action on the farm tomorrow.