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Ian Sharman

My name is Ian Sharman and I am a 3rd generation dairy farmer, near Southwell in Nottinghamshire.

Our farm has been in our family for four generations

Our son Tom is the 4th generation and we have four family members working on the farm.

My most memorable moment

I have two: I'll never forget the day we found out we had successfully purchased the farm, having been tenants for two generations, or the day my son Tom told me he wanted to be a dairy farmer.

We are different to most farms

In the last six years, we have completely changed our way of farming and breed of cow. We've moved away from the more traditional black and white cows, and now have a herd of 650 Holbeck Montbéliardes on a pasture-based system. The Monty cows really make me smile.

Ian Sharmans cows

Montbéliarde is a hardy French breed

Some of our cows produce more than 12,000 litres of milk per year. We produce 8,000 litres a day. Montbéliarde calves are also very good beef animals. It's truly a 'dual purpose' breed.

Montbéliarde milk is ideal for cheese production

Our milk is used for both stilton production and liquid milk by our farmer owned co-op.

We're very environmentally focused as a family and as a business

We have previously won awards for conservation in dairy farming. We are also part of the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) – an environment scheme for farmers and land managers to protect wildlife and natural resources, enhance landscape character and promote understanding of the countryside.

Ian and his son Tom bottle feeding their cows

We are self-sustainable

Our electricity is generated by our solar and wind projects. We are (hopefully) about to take the next step in our sustainable dairying path by moving to an organic production system.

We also have a horse livery yard

All our diversifications have been of great value to our business when milk prices are low, adding extra income and enabling us to retain all of the staff we employ.

My favourite time of day

It has to be in the evening on a sunny day, sat with the cows and the dogs in the field, thinking "What a nice place to be!"