Feeding animals, growing vegetables and spinning wool is all in a day’s work for a farmer – but 11-year-old Joe is younger than most.
The young farmer’s “amazing dedication” is helping him to realise his farming dreams.
This weekend will be extra special for him as he is appearing on a show he loves – BBC One’s Countryfile.
His farming career began selling fruit and vegetables he had grown during lockdown, which quickly proved popular in his village of Billinghay.
Joe invested his profits in buying animals for his farm. He also pays for his own plot in a nearby village and even spins his own wool to sell.
Now he pays for his own stock, feed, shearing, and even vet bills. He gets up early to check his lambing cam and to feed his animals before school, and he continues with his passion again when he gets home.
After appearing on Channel 5’s Christmas on the Farm in 2020, Joe has also featured in Springtime on the Farm and also on BBC Look North and ITV Calendar news.
Joe has built his own lambing tunnel on his grandparents’ land and will appear in Countryfile’s Lambing Special at 6pm on Sunday, April 30.
He said: “What I really love about farming is spending time with the animals and welcoming new life into the world, and watching them thrive.
“I love to see my animals on TV. This way I get to share my animals with everybody and it just shows how dedicated I am to live my farming dream.”
Joe lives with his mum Clare Trofer, dad Adam Cook, and brothers Stan, 6, and Ernie, 5.
His mum Clare said: “It is magic and Joe loves being in front of the camera. It is something he has always watched and he loves Adam Henson, so to be part of it is a big thing for him and for us as a family.”
Joe struggles with anxiety and dyslexia, and was diagnosed with autism during lockdown, but farming helps his anxiety.
Clare said: “Joe says if his tummy starts to feel funny, he goes to his animals and it goes away.”
Clare’s father was a poultry farmer and Adam’s dad had around 40 acres and grew vegetables, but Joe’s parents work in other sectors. Adam is a shot blaster and Clare is a cleaner, who owned horses when she was young.
At the age of just seven, Joe was runner-up in the British Horticultural Society’s Young Gardener of the Year. He has also won awards at the Lincolnshire Show, Heckington Show, and Nottingham Show.
He now has 35 sheep which are a mix of Rylands and Jacobs, which are named after fruit and vegetables including Pumpkin and Strawberry.
He also has two cows called Rosie and Flower, as well as training a young sheepdog that he rehomed.
“He just shines. Everything he’s learning, he’s having to learn himself and he spins his own wool,” Clare told The Lincolnite.
“His desire and passion is to breed Fenland Jacobs which are limited in Lincolnshire, and he is very in tune with his animals.”
Joe keeps his best animals and sells others that he breeds, as well as the wool which he spends hours making on his spinning wheel. He also breeds his own Lincolnshire Buff chickens.
Joe’s younger brothers Stan and Ernie are starting to get the farming bug too.
“The boys just love it,” Clare added. “We never have the telly on in our house, we are always outside growing, or with the animals.”
A Facebook group called Joe’s Garden Patch was set up in May 2020 and has over 1,700 followers.
Like his farming career, it continues to grow with fans from all over the world, including in America and Canada.
“It seems crazy that he has so many followers wanting to see what he is doing as to us it is just our life,” Clare said.
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