Roots to success: Lizzie McLaughlin

Roots to success: Lizzie McLaughlin

Farming journalist Lizzie McLaughlin details her route into farming and the traits she believes are essential to success.
Lizzie McLaughlin believes says resilience vital to success in farming and growing.
Farming journalist Lizzie McLaughlin co-hosts the Boots and Heels farming podcast.
Lizzie-McLaughlin believes says resilience vital to success in farming and growing.
Farming journalist Lizzie McLaughlin co-hosts the Boots and Heels farming podcast.

Lizzie McLaughlin is a farming journalist, podcaster, and content creator who combines her creative skillset with the agricultural world. A proud townie, she fell into the industry five years ago and has truly got her heels stuck in.

As the ‘Heels’ of the Boots and Heels Podcast duo, Lizzie brings fresh perspectives to the podcast and wider social media platforms, which breaks down barriers and is continuously helping to bridge the gap between farmer and consumer alongside her co-host, Becca. 

Name: Lizzie McLaughlin

Age: 27

Location: Originally from Middlesbrough. Now lives in West Yorkshire.

What’s your current role? Head of Commercial Content Solutions at Agriconnect.

How has continuing professional development (CPD)/training positively impacted you? As someone from a non-farming background, personal training has often meant getting my wellies on and being on farm. Last year alone, I travelled over 5,000 miles to meet many different farmers. I even spent a week last summer working on a dairy farm; it has been great to learn more about the people behind our produce. In the office, I've also completed a presenting course for on camera work and been voted onto the Women in Ag Scotland Committee in 2020.

What led you to pursue a career in this industry? Growing up in a town, I never thought a career in farming was possible. Despite always wanting to visit my local farm, I was surrounded by stereotypes of what it means to be a farmer, and therefore, I didn’t really consider it as a career option.

However, after falling into the industry five years ago, I was surprised at the diverse range of people, job roles, and opportunities in the industry. That inspired me to start sharing the stories of the farming community.

What do you find most rewarding about your job? Aside from being with animals and eating good food, I love being a storyteller for the farming community. From sharing the successes of women in agriculture supporting mental health campaigns to showing how our food is produced, it's so rewarding to give people a platform to share what they do.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role? Being from a non-farming background, you can sometimes question your credibility, especially when you don’t know the answers to things generational farmers have known from their childhood.

However, I find the farming community really supportive and welcoming, and I want to encourage others to consider a career in agriculture.

What skills do you think are important for success in this industry? Resilience and passion. There can be many challenges, but with those traits comes reward.

Whether you’re in the field or the office, resilience is definitely needed to overcome problems and find solutions. If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll find that work doesn’t really feel like work.

Can you share a project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of? That would be the podcast Becca and I started to help bridge the gap between the farming community and the public. In two years, we have charted at number 25 in Apple’s Top 200 for personal journals, had more than two million video views, appeared on mainstream media such as BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live, and most recently won the Northern Farmer Women in Ag Award.

How do you stay up to date on industry trends and innovations? I read a lot of articles. Working in my role, it’s essential to keep up to date with the latest news. However, I’m also very active on social media and see the potential for stories and ideas. One tip I would give is that I try to look at what other industries are doing – I often follow great people on LinkedIn who aren’t from agriculture – and some of my best ideas come from them.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in agriculture/horticulture? Don't be afraid to ask questions or get it wrong; always believe in yourself.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on the job? I once did a photoshoot in toeless heels with sheep… I ended up with sheep poo all over my feet!

Another one would be when I filmed with Tom Pemberton, and I somehow forgot to pack my wellies. Tom was great – he let me borrow a pair. Although, I did then end up helping on the farm wearing a skirt and wellies!

If you could only grow one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I have a small greenhouse as I don’t have my own farm, and I love growing my own produce. If I could only choose one thing to grow, it would probably be peas, as they remind me of my childhood. Me and my grandad used to love eating peas straight from the pod together – the sweet taste always takes me back.

If you could only listen to one song while working, what would it be? Any Taylor Swift song. Everyone who knows me knows I’ve been a huge fan since I was 13.

Fun fact: I once made a skirt to wear to her concert – Taylor saw it online, and during the concert, her mum asked me if I’d like to go backstage. To cut a long story short, I ended up eating pizza and chatting to Taylor after the show! I even got an autograph and picture too.



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