Born Mucky: Life on a Shropshire farm captured in new TV show

When Ian Steele was growing up on the family farm in Shropshire he had no interest in following his father into agriculture.

Treflach Farm. Ian in the barn.
Treflach Farm. Ian in the barn.

But following university, then working abroad in the petro-chemical industry, family circumstances meant Ian returned to Treflach Farm, Oswestry.

Today, as he is about to turn 40, he says he loves every day of the life he and his partner, Stephanie, have made for themselves on the farm they have transformed.

Day-to-day life down on Treflach Farm has been captured in a new series on Quest TV that begins on January 7.

Born Mucky: Life on the Farm goes behind the scenes to capture the reality of life for modern day farmers in rural Britain, and the resilience and commitment required to keep farms thriving.

Ian Steele and partner Stephanie

The series follows three British farmers, running three very different family farms.

Ian said his fourth-generation farm used to have a 90-cow dairy herd and said his father's life as a farmer had been a struggle.

"I was determined not to go into farming and so I did an engineering degree and went into the petro-chemical industry," he said.

"However when I came back home to help him when he was ill, I was so pleased to be back in Shropshire I decided to have a complete career change.

"We sold the dairy herd and as we had always kept a few pigs I went down that route."

some of the pigs on Treflach Farm

Ian started selling his bacon and sausages at farmers' markets and to other outlets and then decided to take another step to add value to the meat - opening a bakery so that he could produce pies, pasties and sausage rolls.

That side of the business took off so well that Treflach Farm now employs six people.

He is passionate about animal welfare and sustainable farming, using non tillage methods of farming the land to lock in carbon rather that plough it out.

"I believe we should be eating less meat, but better quality meat, and making farming sustainable and not dependent on grants and handouts."

While Ian concentrates on farming, Stephanie runs a Community Interest Company side of the business.

Treflach Farm offers farm visits for individuals and groups and runs horticultural and animal welfare training days for young people between 14-16. There is also basic camping on the farm.

Farmer Ian Steele on his farm.

The couple admits that creating their vision of Treflach Farm has been a challenge.

"It has been an experience and a challenge to make it work," he said.

"I enjoy every day of our life and coming home to take over the farm was the best decision I could have made," he said.

Born Mucky: Life on the Farm premieres at 9pm on January 7 on Quest.

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