Inspirational Holly Moscrop whose life was "knocked off" her planned path finds a new way to follow her dreams of farming

Holly has not let her health difficulties stop her dream of farmingHolly has not let her health difficulties stop her dream of farming
Holly has not let her health difficulties stop her dream of farming
Over the past five years Lincoln Red cows have become a feature at Stockheld Grange Farm in Scholes

The move to this particular breed which saw Roger Moscrop buy three heifers and then a further five within a week was inspired by his 24-year-old daughter Holly.

Holly, who suffers from Myalgic Encephalyomyelitis (ME) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS), which, she said led to her life being “knocked off my meticulously planned out path” runs her own digital platform, the onegirlandhercows website, alternately titled Ramblings of a Farm-bound Girl.

Holly said she knew she wanted to be a farmer.

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“I’d grown up being outside with a love of all things four legged. Dad used to put me inside a hay feeder when I was little while he was handling calving so I could watch.

“It was a farming version of a play pen but the idea was that I was safe and could still see what was going on.

“We had Mules and at 10-11 years old I would be lambing with my grannie, Anne. I also rode ponies in the mounted games with Bramham Moor Pony Club.

“As I’d already been raised on livestock, and because our farm also includes arable land, I’d decided to study crop science when I went to agricultural college, learning more about soil and crops but coming up to my GCSEs I suffered from what at first I thought was just a virus.”

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One year later, following multiple doctors’ appointments and tests Holly’s illness was finally diagnosed.

“The nightmare is never over,” said Holly,

“It’s the luck of the draw. I was trying as hard as I could to fight against it, the fatigue, but accepting my limitations and not fighting against them was the only way.

“I had to learn how to adapt.”

Holly can still walk very short distances but for the majority of the time uses a motorised wheelchair to get around and hasn’t left the farm in seven years.

While she may have to watch just how much she does and how much energy she uses, Holly said her enthusiasm for farming is undiminished and probably greater than ever.

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“We have cameras set up in the cattle sheds so that I can watch when there are calvings and I can get dad moving,” she said.

“The decision to go with Lincoln Red cows came about because I started recording the weight gains of the calves on to spreadsheets.

“I also handle the farm accounts and invoices.

“That’s how I came to tell dad we needed to look at a different breed to our traditionally Limousin cross cows.

“Ours is a commercial herd selling the cattle as stores at around 12 months so weight gain is important.”

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Roger went to the Great Yorkshire Show with Holly’s shortlist of possible breeds in mind. The list included Lincoln Red, Beef Shorthorn and South Devon.

“We chose the Lincoln Red because of its maternal traits, having good milk, shape and easy calving. Dad went to Richard Pearson near Catterick and sent me photographs of the heifers he was thinking of buying,” said Holly.

“We’ve now a herd of 15 Lincoln Reds within the suckler herd of around 35 cows and they are the ones I talk about on my website.”

More recently Holly also decided moving to a Bazadaise bull would benefit the suckler herd, to once again offer a better shape and better growth rates.

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Holly also has ambitions of selling their own produce online in the future.

“Lincoln Red beef has great marbling and a better meat to bone ratio,” Holly said.

“It’s about adding value to what we produce and taking us from farm to fork.

“I talk about reconnecting the public with food and if we can do it, we can start making more of that connection ourselves.”

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Her aspirations also include breeding Lincoln Red replacements so they can finish cattle themselves and some time in the future return to a lambing flock. Holly said she is still adapting to her new world and working at it all constantly.

“I spend most of my day in my bedroom, which is more like my own flat as it has things you wouldn’t expect there, including a mini oven and all of my baking ingredients as I can bake for England!

“I can now read for up to around an hour. At first about 30 seconds was my limit, so I have improved.

“I use a stairlift because just going up or down takes too much energy, but I get out thanks to the motorised wheelchair and can now herd my cows and take my 21-year-old fell pony, Bella, and 27-year-old horse, Alex, for walks.

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“I never got to go to college, but I did achieve 9 A or A* in my GCSEs. I might be doing things differently to my original plan but I can still play my part too,” she said.

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