We will all miss winter and fatstock shows this year, but not as much as Joanne Hall, of Inglewood Edge.

Exhibiting at winter fairs across the nations, there hasn’t been much Joanne and her team have not achieved for their 1200 cross Beltex ewe flock.

The ewes are put to the Beltex and Dutch Texel sire, to get the ‘perfect’ cross, as well as running 300 Cheviot ewes which are put to the Aberfield tup.

“We have now also began concentrating on rearing Wagyu for Warrendale Wagyu. This is a change from the herd of Limousin cross cows previously run at Inglewood Edge.

“We are also buying 10 Blue cross dairy calves each month to be grown onto 19-20 months– and will going out of Limousin suckler cows this autumn,” said Joanne, who in partnership with her parents and auntie farm around 900 acres.

“We decided to give the Wagyu a go as it is something completely different from the Limousin cross cow and something we hoped would be slightly easier managed, which is so far proving to be the case,” she continued.

Joanne has been brought up at Inglewood Edge all her life, although she has gained experience elsewhere. Firstly, attending boarding school for seven years – when she did not like being away from home at all!

A two-year agricultural course at Newton Rigg College, at Penrith, was next on the cards, before travelling to New Zealand a couple of times, but Joanne always landed back at home to the farm.

Not only does Joanne run the farm along with the family partnership, she is also a director at Penrith Market and considers the continuation and support of live markets to be essential.

“Without markets we are in the hands of the supermarkets and I, for one, do not consider this a good thing,” added Joanne, who has two daughters, Holly and April.

Holly is doing an apprenticeship at the local school and April is in her final year of GCSE. “I am extremely proud of both of them,” said Joanne.

Why is Beltex your chosen breed?

Conformation and character all the way. As soon as dad, John Hall and I saw an early importation in Penrith Market, we knew we were hooked. They are perfect for the live market which I consider to be extremely important.

If you had to choose another breed to go into what would it be?

I think it would be a Herdwick – something completely different!

What got you involved in showing to start with?

We used to show carcases at the Scottish Winter Fair and I can remember standing with dad watching Herbie Kennedy dress a sheep for showing. Ever since that day, I thought it would be something one day we might have a go at.

Who inspires you?

That would have to be dad. I always felt I wanted to work at home alongside him and my uncle, Peter,who we sadly lost earlier this year.

Dad encouraged me to do what I wanted – with the odd reminder that perhaps there might be something a bit easier. Although I did listen, I didn’t listen hard enough and I am still here!

Which was the best animals you’ve ever shown?

A pair of home-bred lambs that won the Scottish Winter Fair the year Richard Bulmer judged. If you can have such a thing as a perfect pair, that was them – that ewe did an amazing job producing both of them.

But what was the best animal you’ve ever seen?

This would have to be Tullygarley Elite. We were lucky enough to have a sixth share in him and I think he was one of the main foundations of the Beltex breed.

Of course, there have been many others who have also stood out but to me, but he was top notch at the time.

Changes over the years?

There are a lot more Beltex around these days, as the breed grows in popularity. However, I do feel we must stick to what a Beltex should be used for, which is conformation and character – and that doesn’t always mean size. Lose those and you’ve lost the breed.

The farming industry is always facing a struggle in one sector or another, however let’s hope we can fight the current storms and keep producing great British food.

Although, the showing circuit has had a knock this year, we have to hope shows can make a comeback when possible and that people will support them again.

Shows are a great way to show off your stock and meet new people as well as the old friends you only see at those events. Many more young people and woman are involved than ever, which can only be a good thing for the industry.

The Scottish Farmer:

The Inglewood Edge team with their class winners of the 2018 Christmas show at Wigton

Abiding memory?

I think this would have to be being invited to judge at the centenary of the Scottish Winter Fair.

It was an honour, and I will never forget the day. I had a great show of stock in front of me that day.

Biggest disappointment?

The biggest disappoint to me is that no matter how hard you try, there will always be disappointments.

Most influential person in your career?

Four people come to mind here, although I know many more have also helped me along the way.

Firstly, my dad and uncle both have helped me through thick and thin, and I can honestly say we have rarely had a crossed word and for that I am ever grateful.

Robin Slade has also been there for me, offering advice on showing and breeding throughout my farming life.

The late Edward Bindloss, also had words of advice for me, usually when we sat around the coffee table at Penrith Auction Mart and he always said it straight.

What is your favourite show?

I enjoy a show whether it’s down the road or a national one.

I especially like to see the young handlers classes which my girls have been involved in over the years and I just love to see the competition in the ring and them all together having fun afterwards.

But the Royal Smithfield will probably always have the best memories because at the time it was ‘the one’ to win, but I also had a very proud mother moment when the girls won their first outing at the Borderway Expo when they weren’t very old.

Your choice of best stockman/shepherd ever?

I can’t name names here because I think anybody who takes pride in their stock is a true stockman, whether they show the stock at shows or not.

I am lucky enough to live in an area where there are great stockmen wherever you look and we have been lucky at Inglewood Edge to have many great stockmen and women work here with us, including the team that are here now.

Who has the best kist parties?

Any kist party is a good one and getting together at a show is all part of the showing experience. Cheers to all those we are missing seeing this year.

Any funny stories to share with us?

The first ever time dad and I decided to show live/dead at Perth at the Scottish Winter Fair after watching Herbie trim his sheep, dad had decided we would be ok just to sleep in the Land Rover. It was minus whatever and we nearly froze ... never again!

The other memory I have is of a Welsh Winter Fair when it was -19°C ,I remember. There was one tap working on the whole of the showground all the sprayers and show products were frozen along with the lemonade and coke – the only other thing that was not frozen was the vodka…

Interests out with farming?

Mainly my two girls, I have tried to let them do as many things sports and activities as they can when growing up.

Best advice?

Never give up, if you truly believe in something, you must go for it ... never be afraid to take a step backwards to move forwards.

One you can never get away from is, ‘what will be, will be’.

If you could change one thing what would it be?

That my uncle was still around to see some of the recent changes we have made on the farm which will, hopefully, be successful enough to keep us moving forward.

Biggest showing achievement?

When we took champion and reserve the first time we exhibited at the Royal Wales Winter Fair, and more recently taking champion and reserve at Agri Expo, at Carlisle. Taking a championship anywhere is a great achievement, the local Christmas shows are always great to win too.

Any champion is a good feeling but when you are lucky enough to get reserve as well as champion you’ve had a good day.

Best investment?

A combi clamp is a great piece of equipment and is easy on the stock and the handlers!

Another would have to be the Beltex tup, Northcop Ram Raider, he bred a lot of our show winners and was a lovely character.

The future of the showing circuit?

I hope showing bounces back from this hard time and comes back bigger and better. It needs support at all levels, starting at local shows so if you can, support them!