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Farm life a thrill for young boys

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Farm life  a thrill for young boys

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They come from a family of farmers – four generations to be exact.

And seven-year-old Isaiah Marshall, his four-year-old brother Elijah, and three-year-old cousin Najae Grogan, enjoy being part of farming on their grandfather’s farm.

Ian Branch, the patriarch of the family, has been into farming from time immemorial, having purchased his first gilt in February 1979. Since then there has been no looking back, and his son and grandsons have followed in his footsteps.

When a SUNDAY SUN team visited their Carlton, St James farm, the boys were busily “dishing out” feed for the ewes and chickens for the evening.

Their grandfather explained that they have all been helping since they had strength in their hands.

“They help out around the farm with the ewes and feeding of the chickens and other animals, but I keep them away from the rams because it could be very dangerous,” he said.

The boys who had been looking forward to the recently concluded Agrofest since last year, practising regularly with their toy animals in the backyard.

“They could call the word Agrofest before they could speak properly. Agrofest is about posture and keeping the animals erect, which has a lot to do with winning competitions. They have been practising for a long time, and this last weekend meant a lot to them,” he said.

Branch, also an acting superintendent in the ranks of the Royal Barbados Police Force, described this year at Agrofest as one of his proudest moments, both as a farmer and watching one of his grandsons enter the ring for the first time.

“The most satisfying thing at Agrofest this year . . . was accomplishing Best Ram and Best Ewe and having my grandson enter the ring. Isaiah had the chance to go into the ring and showcase some of the animals, taking some of his uncle’s goats into the ring along with some ewes,” he said.

Never forced

Reminiscing, he recalled taking the two older boys’ father, Dwayne Marshall, to Agrofest.

“When his father was younger it was a different ball game; I took him into the ring at Isaiah’s age when the show used to be at The Pine and then the Grotto, but he used to handle the rams and all the other animals,” he said.

At that point, the boys came rushing out to show off their chickens and their chicks which are housed in the coop. Jostling each other, as only boys do, they hurried to lay feed for the birds as their father arrived.

“As long as I know myself I was into farming,” Marshall said. “Farming is an everyday thing and they were all exposed to it from early. We never forced any of them into it but they have a great love for animals, so it runs in their blood strong.”

He is not scared with the young ones around the larger animals, especially the bulls and rams.

“I am not scared to have them around any one of these animals. My wife and I would like them to become vets and hope they stick with it when they reach that age,” he said.

The excited boys then led the team to see the flock of sheep on the pasture outside their home.

The youngest farmer of the lot, Najae, explained the different feeds used for the animals.

“We use BA feeds to feed the ewes, blooming sheen powder as a booster and we feed the sheep and goats pellets,” he said, smiling brightly.

Elijah, who was busily running behind the ewes, paused for a moment to say, “I see cows and pigs and love to run on the pasture with them,” before running behind the ewes again.

Isaiah, a student of St Alban’s Primary and a competitor in the National Primary Schools Athletics Championships, said he was fascinated by all the animals.

“I like being here because we get to see and touch the animals. I like to see when the sheep born and help on the farm,” he said.

When asked if he wanted to be a farmer like his grandfather and father, he said he was uncertain.

“I like to run but I think I could run and be a farmer too,” he said before rejoining his brother and cousin to play with the animals. (RA)