Hi, I'm Abi Reader and I'm a 3rd generation dairy farmer in Glamorganshire, South Wales.
I didn’t always know I would be a dairy farmer
But I think it was probably something in me from the start! As a child, I would spend hours sat perfectly still in a pen with cows and calves, just watching how they behave. Cows are such expressive animals, everything is written in their eyes – you can tell when they're happy or when they're feeling mischievous.
I've been farming for more than 10 years
I manage a mixed herd of 180 Holstein Friesians and Dairy Shorthorns. I'm a bit sentimental about the Shorthorns since they've been in my family for over four generations. We also keep three bulls on the farm: my two homebred Shorthorn Bulls, Bruno and Frank, and our Aberdeen Angus called Jock.
Being a dairy farmer is such a rewarding job
With every calf that's born, I think about their mother and their grandmother. I imagine how they will turn out as adult cows and how we shall work together to produce milk for the future.
Welfare is high priority for us
We are a closed herd, so we do not buy in any animals (other than Jock) for fear of bringing in any potential disease. I work very closely with my vet , nutritionist and foot trimmer to keep my cows happy and healthy.
I'm always looking for ways to educate people
I believe that everyone should have the right to see and experience a farm, and understand the work, care and respect that go into running one. I've been involved in several events and campaigns to get our dairy farming messages out there.
I ran my first Open Farm Sunday in June 2014
Open Farm Sunday is a really easy-to-organise and rewarding event – and it definitely goes a long way to connect with local people, and help them gain an understanding of the world of dairy farming. Open Farm Sunday is the farming industry's national open day run by Linking Education and Farming (LEAF). Once you've registered, LEAF sends you newsletters with ideas for the day, a host's handbook, plus loads of free resources.
We had 310 visitors on the day
It went really well and lots of visitors said they'd like to come back again. The most satisfying moment for me came five months later when, on a train to London, a stranger came over to me. Her children had pointed out the 'cow lady', so she wanted to come and tell me what a great and memorable day they had all had!
Social media is a powerful tool
It's the only way you can talk directly to politicians, decision makers – even celebrities – and use it to promote your business and the farming industry as a whole. It really makes you feel part of a worldwide community.