A remarkable schoolboy is already setting out his ambitious plans and talks farming far more expansively than many two and three times older.
Importing new bloodlines, contemplating a move to Scotland, making a more than reasonable return on his recent investment and wanting to expand from hens and sheep to Charolais and Beef Shorthorn cattle are all admirable traits for any forward thinking farmer, but to find all of these in a young man of just 15 years of age seems outrageous.
Jack Mollet of Gardens Farm, Barkisland, near Halifax, is a remarkable schoolboy who already talks farming far more expansively than many two and three times older.
He not only has clarity of vision over what he wants to achieve, he’s been doing something about it since he was 10 years old when he sold his first chickens at Holmfirth livestock market.
“I’ve always loved farming,” says Jack, sounding as though he’s been in it forever. “I bought myself some sheep from a man up the road last year.
“They’re Blue Texels or to be even more accurate they are Millennium Blues. I bought four ewes that had lambed once already so they were experienced and I put them to a white Texel tup.
“I lambed them in February and March and they’ve made good shapely lambs. I didn’t want to put a Blue Texel tup on them in my first year with only four of them but in the future it’s definitely an option.
“I got three sets of twins and a set of triplets, so I lambed at 215 per cent. I only had to bottle feed a couple to get them to their feet and a couple needed a heat lamp for a week but I didn’t lose any.
“I’m now fattening them up ready for market while trying to keep my feed cost as low as possible. I’ll take them through to 40-45 kilos as that way I can make maximum money.
“Six of the lambs are black so I’ll sell those as Blue Texels and the other three are white to sell as Texels.”
Jack hasn’t wasted any time recouping his investment and clearly has an eye for stock and a bargain.
“My four ewes cost £90 each but I also bought some tups, hoggs and Mule ewes for £300 from someone who had to get rid of them. I sold them at Holmfirth a few weeks later for £1100. Hopefully I’ll find some more.
“My Millennium Blue ewes are only young and I will have them five years or so but I may add a couple more. They make good enough lambs and although people like white Texels best risks have to be taken to have the best chance of succeeding.”
It was Jack’s hens that provided him with the cash to splash out on the Millennium Blues.
“I have a cart at the end of our lane where I sell eggs. I’ve had a sign made that says Jack’s Quacks. It does a roaring trade and although I’ve only got a dozen hens at the moment because the fox cleared me out I will get some more again and build them back up. I did it a lot of years before getting enough money to buy the ewes.
“I’m hoping to carry on growing a bigger flock of sheep. I want to go to Askham Bryan College and that will give me more knowledge on how to make money out of it and be a success.”
Jack’s keen on cattle and is following in his grandad Neil Ogden’s footsteps. Neil has Charolais. “Grandad breeds them to sell as stores giving them two summers out. I’d be more interested in the pedigree side and specialist breeding, looking at new bloodlines from Ireland and Scotland.
“The Beef Shorthorn is an up and coming breed. I’d have them as well as Charolais. They’re quite a big breed that produces a good suckler cow.
“I help out checking cows, calving and feeding up for grandad and I help out with hay making for Mark Severn who shows his cattle.
“I’ve been in the ring for him in the baby beef and young handlers classes and got reserve champion with a young Beef Shorthorn heifer at Great Yorkshire Show last year where I led a bull in the grand parade.
“I like the idea of showing stock to get your name out there. In the long run it should do me some good and bring more money.” When his grandad judged at Arthington Show a few years ago Jack went along with him and since then he has become a cattle steward.
“Lisa (Hardy) the show secretary asked if I’d like to steward and I love it. I hand out rosettes, give out prize money and help the judges and the handlers.
“I’ve been doing it the past three of four years and we go to a lot of shows. I’m always watching and judging what I think should win. I like stockjudging too and I won the cow and sheep stockjudging at Calderdale YFC when I was 12 or 13.”
Everything about Jack screams out that he’s destined to farm and what’s more he already is!
Grandad gives out best advice
Jack isn’t without humility either. He knows where a good deal of his knowledge has come from.
“My grandad gives me a lot of advice. He’s been in the sheep trade buying lambs all his life and has a really good eye for sheep.
“He helped me get the right ones to produce the money to keep going. Having that advice is really important.
“I needed to make the money from the other sheep for feed, foot trimming, shearing and if I need a vet. I spend part of every day with my Blues taking them water and checking they are alright.”