About Us

Cloisters Farm comprises 45 hectares, with a further 30 hectares of rented land much of which is water meadow or rough grazing.  Situated at the southern tip of Northamptonshire it has easy access to the A43, A421 and M40.

Barnowl
Charles Reader - Service to Farming and the Jersey Breed

Prior to assuming the tenancy of Cloisters Farm involvement in the local Jersey Club included Charles and Frances holding various roles including Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.  Charles was already being asked to consider Society roles and became a Council Member (as it was then) in 1986.  

After the minimum three years’ probation he was promoted to full Judge in 1987 and has judged extensively both at home and abroad at Breed and Interbreed level.  The National Jersey Show, brainchild of Mr T H Bradley and run by a small but efficient group of Jersey people, also saw Charles as a stalwart in the team, including taking over the running of it until loss of sponsorship caused its demise at the end of 1997.  In its heyday the show had over 300 entries and classes could field over 50 animals forward.

1990 saw a trip to London to receive a special award from  Prince Charles in the Duke of Cornwall farm management competition.  

1992 was a year of climax and crisis.  Charles’ experience running the National Jersey Show had gained him the appointment of Show Director for the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference Show, held at Malvern the week prior to the Royal Show.  Years of planning culminated in an event which profiled UK Jersey cattle to the international guests, gave a focal point to the tour and saw Barnowl Fanfare made Supreme Champion by the International Judges Panel.  She also won People’s Champion.  Only after the event did the panel of Judges find out that their Show Director and Chief Steward was the owner and breeder.  The following week saw her Royal Show Champion as well.  Between the two shows Cloisters Farm was one of the host farms for the Tour, with the entire herd show clipped, washed and split into the major female families.  It was also during this tour that representations by Charles and Frances to the World Jersey Cattle Bureau saw the introduction of the WJCB Youth Travel Scheme which has allowed so many young Jersey enthusiasts travel the world to learn about farming and culture in other countries.

For several years the Council had been discussing expenditure without (in Charles’ opinion) the means to finance or service the borrowing required.   Charles repeatedly questioned the financial prudence of the options being laid before the Council and was made to feel thoroughly out of step.  The money was borrowed and spent, and hindsight has established that the transactions were, as Charles had suggested, less transparent and “above board” than they should have been.  

During his time on the Council/Board he has had many highs and also conflicts.  Accusations of impropriety flew during 2002 and it took the combined strengths of Charles, Malcolm Huxtable and Ashley Fleming to rebuild the Society and he it to emerge phoenix-like from the ashes.  Hours and days were spent talking to bank managers, semen suppliers and other creditors.  Charles took on the Treasurer’s role and with the staff’s undinting assistance pieced together the information and developed a plan to rescue the Society’s finance and credibility.  Good planning and some luck saw Jersey House exceed anticipated sale income, allowing the Society to plan investments and budgets.  

Charles has served the Jersey Society as Chairman of Judges, President, Chairman and Treasurer.  He retired from the Board at the 2012 AGM and was presented with a unique award of a silver model cow commemorating his years of office.  A well-regarded member of the Holstein Society said about him on his retirement “Never has a farming organisation been more indebted to a single person than the Jersey Society is to Charles Reader.” – quite an accolade!

In addition to Board roles Charles and Frances have hosted many Judges Conferences, Classifiers Workshops, Young Members Weekends (originating from the National Jersey Show), Open days and other events, promoting Jerseys and the people involved with them.  They are believed to be the only people to have received a special commendation from the Duke of Cornwall Award for farming practice, presented at the Farmers Club by Prince Charles.  Herds Competition and Show results are available elsewhere but Interbreed success in both, particularly in production competitions, has done much to market both Barnowl and the Jersey Breed to the Holstein market.

The National Farmers Union has also benefited from both Charles and Frances’ involvement, including Regional Milk Committee Chairman.  Andrew continues the principle of service having served as Buckinghamshire YFC County Chairman until 2012.

February 2013 saw Charles’ work recognised by the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies, when he received his Associate Fellowship from Baroness Byford at the House of Lords, one of only 26 presented, and in November of the same year he was one of the three finalists for Farmers' Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year.
 
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has also appointed him as Chief Steward to the  Livestock Show, run at the NEC, Birmingham which complements his stewarding role at the All Britain All Breeds Calf Show..

Staff
The farm has no employees.  Ros Pinker left us in October 2013 after many years as a relief milker and just about anything else we ask. She became the proud mum of Sarah Jane the following month and is now experiencing parenthood having been a "big sister" to both our boys for many years. Charles is now full-time on the farm after many “part-time” years splitting his time and energy with UK Jerseys as President, Treasurer and Chairman.

Frances (Frances Reader) teaches Pilates and rehabilitative exercise on a very anti-social timetable and also responds as a CFR for the local ambulance service.  The result is that the farm administration and outdoor work get squeezed in wherever they can be fitted.

Andrew (Andrew Reader) completed his NDA at Nottingham Trent in 2003 and whilst still working away from the farm for an agricultural suppliers is increasing his involvement with the farm. Stewart (Stewart Reader) moved away in 2012 to broaden his carpentry and joinery experience but did design and install a nice new kitchen for his mum before he left.