Meet William - poster boy for future generations of farmers

William Pearson from Bradford is only three-year-old but he is proving a dab hand on the family farm - as well as a star of social media. Picture by Helen Cussons.
William Pearson from Bradford is only three-year-old but he is proving a dab hand on the family farm - as well as a star of social media. Picture by Helen Cussons.
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A tiny young farmer from West Yorkshire is winning fans around the world for how he has taken to life on his family’s beef farm.

William Pearson, aged three from Bradford, is a former mascot for the Farmer’s Guardian, having appeared online in photographs focusing on different events around the farm each day between August 2017 and January last year.

Having ‘retired’ from the role, his family have continued to share his early passion for farming with an international audience via his own dedicated Facebook page.

William now has more than 2,000 followers, including fans from as far afield as Texas, USA.

His mother, Helen Cussons, whose family farm at Oakenshaw, said she hoped the photographs of her son would encourage new generations of farmers.

“It’s to show people that there is a next generation of farmers and that we have to look after the farming industry to support the younger generation,” she said.

Ms Cussons added that she hoped the photographs she takes, which show William performing different tasks on the farm as he helps his father Joe, will press home the message to the wider public that farmers work around the clock and that they care about their livestock.

“We farm to earn a living but it goes beyond that,” she said.

Despite William’s tender age, Ms Cussons detects a real interest in farming in her son.

“He goes out and helps his dad on the farm, whether it’s shovelling, filling buckets or helping to check on the cows.

“I think he will be involved in farming when he grows up. He is always asking us why we are doing particular things.”

Recent research published by Barclays bank suggested that the average age of a British farmer is 55-years-old.

The study found that the number of British farmers aged over 65 has risen by 70 per cent in the last decade while the proportion of under-25s running farms had fallen by two-thirds.