Joshua Wright

Pig and Arable Farmer

I am currently in the process of taking over the tenancy on my family farm. We run a small pig breeding unit and will eventually be farming 120 acres of arable land. We farm on an estate just south of Leeds.

Being a farmer is all I have ever wanted to do. From the age of 3 that was my dream. Every school holiday was spent on the farm helping my grandad with whatever he was doing. And like most farming lads as soon as I could reach the pedals I was driving whatever machinery I could get my hands on.

I am just about to realise my dream. I’m in the process of taking on a new tenancy, for the family farm, with extra hectarage. This wouldn’t have been possible of course without the help of my grandfather, and I realise how lucky I am for the opportunity.

We currently run a pig breeding unit and grow wheat and winter and spring barley. Some of which we sell out; the rest is used as feed for the sows.

When I left school I enrolled at Askham Bryan College, initially on a Countryside and Environment course but then I transferred onto the degree course in Agriculture with Land Management. Realising that if I wanted to fulfil my dreams I needed a relevant qualification in Agriculture.

I graduated from Askham with a degree in Agriculture and needed to get a job away from the farm, as the farm wasn’t big enough at the time. So I landed myself with a job at a local feed mill; running the press machines making compound feeds.

I guess I knew I was gay from the age of 13 or 14 and I spent most of my teenage years battling with myself. I used to tell myself that if I wanted to be a farmer I couldn’t be gay. Farmers can’t be gay.

I didn’t come out until I was 22 and I’ll always remember the day I told my mum I was gay, it was far from glamorous. I hadn’t been myself for weeks and although I didn’t live with my mother, she knew something was wrong. They always know when something is wrong. To cut a long story short, we were on our way to Aldi, and I thought that was the perfect moment to say those three words I had wanted to say for so many years.

It instantly felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders and the knot in the pit of my stomach was instantly untied. The relief was unbelievable.

I’ve never really had “the conversation” with the rest of my family which is one thing, looking back, I regret. I wish I had told them myself instead of letting them find out from other people.

Not long after I came out I met my current partner and we’ve been together 5 years, which has passed by in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Everyone has accepted me for who I am and I guess for that I am pretty lucky.

I’ve never had any negative comments directed straight at me, there are probably comments made behind my back but they’re behind me and I can’t hear them. I think my confidence in who I am as a person has helped me greatly with this. I know who I am and who I want to be and I’ve battled long and hard to get that confidence.

I always remember a friend of mine – who I met whilst I was on jury service -saying to me “You found it harder to admit you were a Conservative than you did to tell us you were gay!” Although I never shout about the fact I’m gay, if I’m asked I never lie. I will always tell the truth.

As my grandad always says; it takes a lot to make a world. If we were all the same it would be a boring place to be.

If you find the confidence to be true to yourself, your life will almost certainly change for the better. The people you need in your life will always be in your life no matter who you choose to love.

Elizabeth ElcoateJoshua Wright