National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 December 2020

Christmas is coming and for Anna Hunt it’s the busiest time of the year on her farm, where they’re busy preparing turkeys right up until Christmas Eve.

Q. Tell us about your business?

A. I live on a mixed family farm which consists of arable, turkeys for Christmas, sheep and a suckler herd which we also show at agricultural shows. I have worked on the farm since I was young, during school and university holidays, and have been working here full-time since March, after I finished my Biology degree from Durham University. I am looking for a job away from home for some different experience and opportunities, within practical farm management.

Q. How long does it take to rear a turkey for Christmas?

A. Our turkey poults arrive at four weeks old in mid-July through to mid-August and we rear them through to Christmas when they are around 24 weeks old. This is different to a lot of supermarket turkeys, which are often reared more intensively for around 12 weeks.

Q. How busy are you in the build up to Christmas?

A. We start preparing the birds at the end of November, and we are working right through to Christmas Eve! Turkeys are a last-minute business and it’s all about remaining calm under pressure, and attention to detail when giving the final produce to a customer.

Q. What’s your favourite thing about this time of the year?

A. I really enjoy this time of year as it is challenging, but it is nice to know you have played a part in making Christmas special for so many people. I feel extremely proud to have been responsible for producing a great product, which has been reared by myself and the team, to extremely high welfare, quality and hygiene standards and is enjoyed by so many people on Christmas Day.

Q. How has COVID impacted turkey sales?

A. It may have had a positive impact for us, as we have seen a shift forward in the time of ordering, which means we have more of an idea about our sales projections further in advance. With restrictions easing around Christmas, we feel confident that butchers’ orders will remain largely unchanged. We have seen an increase in butchers’ orders due to their increased popularity during the lockdowns, which can only be a good thing with more people buying local, British produce!

Q. Has YFC helped during the pandemic?

A. I have been a member of Woburn YFC since I was 12 and it’s been great that YFC has continued throughout the pandemic. We have had a few in-person meetings as well as meetings on Zoom. It has been good to see people and to still have something to look forward to doing on a Wednesday. We’ve also taken part in competitions – the Bedfordshire team came 14th in the recent national stockjudging competition and Woburn won the County’s Braintrust competition.

I have also done a virtual farm tour and talk on turkey processing, which members enjoyed!

YFC is such a great network, I have not only made friends for life but it’s also a great support network when you need it. 

Q. Where can people buy your turkeys?

A. You can buy our turkeys through many butchers in and around Bedfordshire, or even better, come and order direct from us via our website www.watergatefarm.co.uk.


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