Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

#70People70Years - Alice Morley

Alice Morley

Alice Morley - Chair of Hope Valley Young Farmers

Alice Morley lives in Aston in the Hope Valley, and has two jobs - working on the family  farm near Buxton, and at Chatsworth farmyard.

Alice is the Chair of Hope Valley Young Farmers Club, one of nine clubs in Derbyshire. Following in the family tradition, Alice joined the club at the age of ten and recently has worked her way up through the leadership roles of Club Secretary and Treasurer to her current role as Chair.

The ethos of Young Farmers Clubs is to provide opportunities for young people who love agriculture and rural life to support each other, enjoy a dynamic social life and develop skills.

Alice explains: "Being part of the Young Farmers network is about bringing together like-minded people, with similar interests and giving them opportunities to make friends, socialise and gain skills and experience. For some young people, apart from school, it’s the only chance they have to get away from the isolation of living and working on a farm. Our members come from a wide area and go to schools in different areas so by meeting through Young Farmers it helps break down barriers. There’s a broad age range so it helps us integrate better at school and in social situations."

The club usually meets once a week and is open to members aged ten to twenty-eight, drawing its members from the Hope Valley and as far as Glossop and Bradfield. It has not been an easy tenure for Alice with the challenges of keeping the group going during the pandemic.

Hope Valley Young Farmers Club is one of the oldest in Derbyshire, it will celebrate its 85th anniversary in 2022. Some of the activities Young Farmers enjoy include visiting other farms for a tour, going bowling and paintballing, playing darts and other sports, having talks from vets and beekeepers, learning to judge livestock, taking part in local competitions, and more. Being part of Young Farmers helps young people develop confidence and skills for work. They hold training sessions, for example for chainsaw tests, spray tests, tractor tests and lots more. They also organise fundraising events for charities.

Alice Morley at a traditional building

Alice says she feels lucky to have been brought up in the Peak District National Park: "I enjoyed small classes in good rural schools and we live in a tight-knit community. When I look outside, I love that we are surrounded by a farmed landscape and I’m proud to be part of keeping it looking the way it does.

"It is a very special place to live and work in, it’s amazing to come home to. It’s a good farming community and good ground for sheep farming. I feel protective of it, it needs to be farmed and deserves to be well looked after.

"I’m constantly inspired by the people who live and work here, by the landscape and by the long line of farmers, past and present, who have worked their fingers to the bone building the walls and farming the land."

Looking to the future, Alice’s ambition is to continue to farm. She is keen to cut down food miles and to educate people about farming, to provide more information in the countryside to help visitors understand about farming practices, high welfare standards and local traditions. However, she is aware of the challenges her generation faces.

Alice says: "It’s important that everyone recognises the importance of retaining young farmers and supports their ideas. The world is changing and we will have to face some big challenges in our lives, from climate change to rising costs of living in rural areas. We need young people to be able to live where they work but house prices are out of reach for many. My grandma lives in Aston, I’d like my grandchildren to live here too."

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