An 11-year-old farmer who took television screens by storm has been given a set of ‘new wheels’ in the form of an Ifor Williams Trailers livestock trailer.
Joe Trofer-Cook, from Billinghay, Lincoln, has been loaned the trailer by Ifor Williams Trailers distributor, Scott Trailers, in Walcott, so he can move his animals around more efficiently.
Cook, who is from a non-farming family, wasn’t enjoying school and found learning a real battle when he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a farmer and has now built a thriving livestock enterprise from scratch.
Journey to farmer fame
Cook was diagnosed with autism, dyslexia, memory problems and severe anxiety and has found animal therapy has helped with his anxiety.
Joe’s mum, Clare Trofer said: “Not only is farming his hobby but it’s therapy and makes his tummy ache go away.”
When he was seven years old, he began growing fruit and vegetables from a raised bed his granddad had built and sold the produce from trolleys at the end of his driveway.
He then expanded and bought chickens to sell eggs from and later a few ewes, and within a few months had bought his own tup to breed his own flock.
Within three years, Cook had grown his flock to 37 pedigree, four horn jacob and ryeland sheep, two cows, 16 lincolnshire buff chickens and three rescue ducks.
The young farmer became a regular on TV appearing on Country File, Spring Time On the Farm and Channel 5’s This Week on the Farm all while accumulating many ‘best in show’ awards.
Trofer said: “We can’t express our gratitude enough, the Scotts are such a wonderful family to do this for us. It’s not just helping Joe to fulfil his dream, it’s helping us as a family too, so it’s a win/ win situation.
“Joe has 37 sheep now and the old trailer he has only holds three sheep. When we move them around, it’s a two-day job! This will make our lives so much easier.”
Joe has a following of 1,600 on his own Facebook group called Joe’s Garden Patch. Supporters donate handmade items like keychains, bug hotels and hand-crocheted cows for him to sell at shows and be able to reinvest the profits into his business.
Michelle Harper, a director at Scott Trailers, was only too happy to help and said that “Joe’s a confident and smart young man. He absolutely loves his animals and is now something of a local celebrity with his TV appearances”.
She added: “All through his journey, people have helped him out, giving him sheep and other things to help expand his business. We’re really proud to be one of them and helping this young man fulfill his dreams.
“We’ve known Joe and his family for a long time. They desperately needed a trailer to ferry the animals to all the shows every year. It’s a real privilege to help.
“He’s a role model for all children. You can do anything in life, nothing can stop you or stand in your way if you’re determined.”
Joe’s mum spoke of his work ethic for a lad of such a young age: “We had quads this year and had to bring the lambs in to bottle feed them every two hours.
“Joe got himself up at 4:00a.m and then told me his ewe Parsley was showing signs of lambing. Within 36 hours, we had seven lambs. He then fed the cows, had a wash, and went off on a school trip for the day!
“He’s learned to spin his own sheep’s wool. I couldn’t show him how to sheer a sheep – I nearly lost the tip of my finger! Joe’s had to learn everything himself.”
She explained how as a family they have done their best to support Joe, and last year went to an event so that Joe could learn about lambing in case any issues arose, as well as rehoming a six-month-old collie called Spud.
“At the end of the day I’m a cleaner and Joe’s dad is a shot-blaster, this is Joe’s dream and he absolutely shines. We’re not in a position where we can buy Joe’s dream, he has to work for it himself,” Tofer said.
Joe’s now busy saving for his next investment – a lamb feeder – and preparing for summer on the road exhibiting at county shows.