Sheep shearer from Yorkshire turned entrepreneur shortlisted for Young Farmer award
Anna Hall, of Kirkbymoorside, is one of five finalists in the Entrepreneur of the Year Award category at the Young Farmers’ Club national Achiever Awards, which will take place on Friday November 3 at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham.
Anna, a member of Snainton Young Farmers’ Club, near Scarborough, said she was “over the moon” to have her efforts recognised.
Not content with running one business, 27-year-old Anna has launched two more off the back of her sheep-shearing enterprise. Anna shears over 8,500 sheep a year.
Alongside the shearing, Anna launched The Crafty Shearer, creating products from the wool she’s sheared, including peg loom rugs, baubles, key rings and greetings cards.
She has also expanded her own flock of sheep from 26 to 150 and rented more land, with plans to generate a third stand-alone income from these and with a long-term dream of having her own farm.
She said: “I set up The Crafty Shearer three years ago, to run alongside my shearing business (Anna Hall Shearing) as wool is such a useful and hard-wearing product and it was such a shame to see it go to waste on so many farms after all the hard work that goes into shearing it.
"I’ve always enjoyed arts and crafts, so when I sat down one day after the shearing season, faced with a mountain of wool which many small holders had given me over the summer, I decided I would learn a new craft and do something with a product which is now seen as worthless.
“That’s how the Crafty Shearer was born. It began with small needle felted sheep key rings, then along came a flamingo, a dinosaur, an owl, a duck and many more whacky and wonderful orders.”
Anna said she was over the moon to find out she had been shortlisted and is looking forward to getting dressed up for the occasion. She now gets sent wool from around the country and makes rugs as well. Her products are stocked in a couple of local gift and farm shops and she will have a stall at her first Christmas craft fair coming up next month.
Anna set up her shearing business back in 2012, aged 17, and is a regular competitor in shearing competitions such as at the Great Yorkshire Show.
She added: “I often get asked about being a woman in agriculture or a female shearer and yes, I’ve had the comments in the past from the older generation of male farmers who admit after I’ve done a good job that they weren’t expecting me to.
“They make me want to do a better job than the males in the industry. My advice to others is take pride in your work and your reputation will soon go ahead of you.”
Kirsty Chapple, chairman of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said: “We are so proud of Anna for flying the flag for the county at these national awards.
“The way she’s built up her business from small beginnings is a huge inspiration and achievement.
“The whole Yorkshire young farmers’ community will all be rooting for her on awards night.”