From Manchester City to managing 400 dairy cows
A city born and bred man, who as a teen realised he had "a passion for agriculture" is living his dream as a share farmer of a 400-cow dairy herd at 28 years and already planning for a second dairy platform.
Matthew Jackson was brought up in Manchester City with no agricultural background, and his only previous farming experience confined to an after-school job on a local farm and time spent holidaying in Wales.
After his GCSEs he took the opportunity to work on a friend’s sheep and dairy farm in north Wales with the intention of staying a couple of months...and he has never looked back is pursuit of his dream lifestyle in full time farming.
He told the riveting story of how he progressed so far, so quickly to an amazed attendance of almost 500 Irish and International delegates at the Positive Farmers Two Day 'sell out' conference at Cork.
"I can't say that I enjoyed school, I left it at 15 with no qualifications and after much debate, my parents agreed that I could go to the farm where we camped, to stay with the farmer and his family for a four month period, Lambing sheep and milking his 35 cows" he told them.
"On my 16th birthday I bought a 50cc moped and this allowed me to travel and find more farm work. I was working three jobs and learning from scratch, doing everything from stonewalling, fencing, sheep work and rearing turkeys for extra cash", he said.
He travelled to New Zealand when he was 17 years old to work with a shearing contractor for three months and realised that working the body that hard was not sustainable.
On his return he met Rhys Williams and David Wynne Finch who were milking 1,100 cows on a New Zealand style, block calving, grass based system just two miles away and pleaded with them for a full time position to which they agreed, only on condition that he went back to NZ to be trained.