My other life: Janine Marenghi, ERS, smallholder

 Janine in the office

Team leader for ERS’s agriculture operations, Marenghi manages her own smallholding

How did your interest in farming start?

 have owned horses since I was a teenager and it was always my dream to have my own land to keep them on. I was thrilled to finally buy my own smallholding last year. Now, I just have the horses, but the aim is to get some chickens and a few sheep in the future.

How did you build up your skills?

I used to keep my horses on a working farm, which was excellent preparation. I helped the farmer with yard management and feeding the animals. I’ve also built good relationships with local farmers, learning about land maintenance and in return, I’ve given them some guidance on their insurance.

What is the experience like?

It is a balancing act – it’s challenging, especially in the winter when the horses are kept in at night, and require feeding, rug changes and mucking out twice a day. The field also needs daily maintenance, looking out for any damage to fencing or stables.  It’s a labour of love, with hours put in before and after work so good organisation is vital.

 Janine on the smallholding

How has the experience changed you?

It’s deepened my understanding of farming and the challenges farmers face. I admire their hard work and dedication, caring for all their livestock and land 365 days a year. I also realise just how important their machinery is to help them do this on a larger scale.

Any crossover between farming and your insurance day job?

I understand more than ever the business impact of having machinery or a vehicle damaged or stolen and how it can disrupt livelihoods. Being part of that world makes me more determined to provide the support our brokers and their customers need, to give them one less thing to worry about.

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