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Member profile – Olivia Cooper

By 1st July 2011July 27th, 2023No Comments

Freelance Guild member Olivia Cooper switched to a career in journalism after a spell working at grain merchant Glencore.

“I joined as a grain trader after graduating from Newcastle University with a combined degree in Law, English and Agriculture, and started running the company’s website and writing regular market reports,” she explains. “I soon realised I was better at doing that than buying grain!”

In 2001, Olivia made use of her new-found writing skills by moving to Farmers Weekly as a business reporter. Three years later, she started out as a freelance, having relocated to Devon, and changed roles to become Farmers Weekly’s south-west correspondent after John Burns retired.

“I still write a lot for FW – my responsibilities include creating the weekly markets pages and compiling the harvest highlights – but I also contribute to a range of other publications,” says Olivia. “Three years ago, I set up a small PR business, specialising in press releases and articles for rural firms like Savills and Old Mill Accountants, as well as DairyCo and breed societies. I like the variety of working in both journalism and PR, and find it useful to have a foot in both camps.”

Despite this busy workload, Olivia still finds time for her husband, five-year old
twins – a boy and a girl – good food, riding, walking her two dogs, reading, ballet and opera. And also hurtling up hillclimb tracks at a vast rate of knots in an OMS single-seater racing car powered a Suzuki GSXR 1000cc engine.

“It’s a bit old and under powered for our class, but punches above its weight,” she says. “It’s always great fun! And rewarding too, it seems. Olivia has twice won the Ladies’ Leaders championship!

As a new recruit to the Guild, Olivia was more than delighted to win her latest title when selected for the runner up prize in the Guild’s Perkins Power on the Farm Award for an article in Farmers Guardian on miscanthus energy crop production.

“It made me very pleased that I joined the Guild,” she says.