Published on 8th June 2021
Guild member Emma Smith has launched her own magazine, called The YoungStock. We've asked her a few questions about what inspired her.
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Now, on with the interview....
Tell us a bit about yourself...
My name is Emma Smith and I live in Wiltshire with my fiancé Richard and our three children Oliver, Imogen, and Harriet. We farm around 100 acres producing pedigree Herefords, Red Rubies and Beef Shorthorns. We have an agricultural service business with our primary enterprise specialising in foot trimming, however we also carry out freeze branding and semen collection. Another job we undertake is preparing pedigree cattle for shows and sales, so most summers you can find me donning a white coat and show stick.
When I was 27, I embarked on an Honours Degree in Agriculture and Rural Business Management. This was to further enhance my existing practical knowledge, expand on my business knowledge and offer a unique perspective of the wider industries. On completing this degree, I then became a work-based learning tutor, teaching and supporting students in their apprenticeships.
In 2016, I became the Youth Coordinator for The Hereford Cattle Society and facilitate workshops, events, and young handler competitions on a National level. This passion to help the younger generation learn and grow enthused me to complete a master’s degree in Children’s Publishing. It was here that the idea of a farming focused, children’s magazine derived from.
When did you launch 'The YoungStock' and what was the driving force behind the magazine?
The first issue was launched in March this year with a promotional price and free carrot seeds. Inside there was a carrot cake recipe to follow and an explanation of carrots and their nutritional value. I enjoy reading and farming, so my initial thoughts were why not combine the two?
In 2018 I completed the John Deere Training Award through the Guild and was fortunate enough to secure some work experience at Farmers Weekly. It was here the idea started to form. I want to shine a light on our farmers and our food producers; to provide our young readers with facts and information to enable them to make informed decisions by themselves; to encourage reluctant readers and to entice non farming children into our vast, knowledgeable industry.
Which age range have you targeted?
The YoungStock is aimed at 7–11-year-olds, with a dedicated colouring page to the under 7s. However, I have received pictures of ‘older’ children reading it!
What's included in the magazine?
There are many regular features including a small holding blog, a careers interview, and a quiz. Cody, our resident police horse investigates into rural crime and Mrs S creates delicious recipes to try at home. A young farmer from around the world provides us with information on their country and we interview a junior farmer from the UK.
Content includes farming and environmental topics. So far, we have looked into lambing, farm safety, Brexit, cows’ milk, cocoa beans, rotational grazing, and introduction to pigs. I want to cover all machinery, arable and livestock enterprises. We will also investigate environmental factors such as carbon and the importance of hedgerows.
How do you think this will benefit the younger generation of farmers, or those wanting to learn more about our industry.
We know that connecting the younger generation to nature and agriculture is vitally important to the sustainability of caring for the environment and safe food production. So, myself and my small team want to educate children aged 7-11 without harming or confusing them. I am hoping it will provide a broad range of facts and information to allow the readers to formulate opinions and learn new things. This will allow the reader to enhance their learning in a pragmatic way.
How have you spread the word on your magazine?
In the beginning Facebook has been my main source of advertising. I created a page and slowly but surely have spread the word. I joined relevant groups and have continuously plugged away.
Jane Craigie Marketing did a fantastic press release for me and off the back of that I had been interviewed on The Rock and Roll Farming podcast, BBC Radio Lincs and Lincs FM, which did generate some sales. I am now in the top 27 childrens’ magazines as recommended by London Mother and Let Toys Be Toys are also in the process of listing the magazine as a great pick for children.
I do also have a website and an Instagram page and have just recently created a page on Twitter.
I am very keen to involve myself with the Guild and look forward to any relevant courses and networking opportunities.
What has the uptake been like since the launch? And how have the regular subscribers responded?
We currently have over 800 subscribers with an even mix of 6 or 12 months. I have received so many emails from parents congratulating me on the launch and to say their child has read more of the magazine than they ever have of anything else. Pictures of children reading, or farming have come flooding in – it has been quite overwhelming.
How do you see the future of 'The YoungStock' are you looking to expand, and have you been approached to do any collaborations with others in the industry?
I would like to get more schools involved, especially inner-city schools where they may want to know about food production and the environment. I have booked a trade stand at this years Devon County Show as I am keen to get out and meet my readers. We are also looking into merchandise to create a ‘YoungStock’ club. I feel I am on the edge of something big and would most definitely like to expand the readership and collaborate with industry leaders to get our farming stories heard.
How much does 'The YoungStock' cost and where can we purchase a copy?
It cost £3.99 per copy or the subscription price is £3.50. All ordering information is available on the website. For more information on The Youngstock visit www.theyoungstock.com
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