There is a saying in Radnorshire about cracking hollow nuts, a reference to not all business decisions being fruitful ones.

Enterprising farmers will identify with the sentiment behind that expression since not everything in business always works out as hoped.

“In our time we have cracked a few hollow nuts,’’ admits Sharon Hammond, who farms with her sons, Stuart and Eddie, and brother-in-law, Malcolm.

But more decisions than not have borne fruit, with the Hammond family now farming 800 acres across three farms in Powys and producing beef, lamb and chicken.

Sharon had no background in farming when she met and married Michael, whose parents farmed at Neuadd Farm, near Llandrindod Wells. That was to be no barrier to the builder’s daughter from Howey.

“As soon as I came on the scene I was plonked on a tractor and since then the only tractor jobs I haven’t done on the farm is towing the forage harvester and ploughing.’’

Before Sharon and Michael married, his family bought a second farm, Upper Dollwynhir, and it was there that they brought up their children, Stuart, Laura, Eddie and Alice, Sharon combining her role as a mother with dealing with the farm paperwork.

As the business grew so did the paperwork and it culminated in Sharon quitting her job – by then she was working as a business and accounts college lecturer.

“I was 57, I was ready to leave the college and the boys needed help with the paperwork, the time was right to hand in my notice. I remember the look of relief on the boys’ faces when I told them.’’

She was also supporting Michael, who had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. He sadly died seven years ago at the age of 62.

“Stuart came out of university and quickly had to step up to the mark,’’ Sharon recalls.

Eddie joined the business too when he finished university, with the family also tenant farming Gaufron Farm, Howey. It was Eddie’s university placement year in New Zealand that was to lay the path for a major change in the sheep system, which until then had been run with Mule and Beulah Speckled-Faced ewes.

“Stuart visited him in New Zealand and when they came back they decided we were going to have Romneys,’’ says Sharon.

They had been convinced by the benefits of farming a breed that thrives on grass and will lamb outside without assistance. The flock now numbers 1600 ewes.

Beef is produced from a herd of 100 Aberdeen Angus suckler cows; the Hammonds also produce their own replacement heifers with 30 currently in calf to an Aberdeen Angus stock bull. A Stabiliser bull runs with the herd too.

The farm also produces broilers, on a managed margins contract with Avara.

The broiler enterprise had been Stuart’s idea.

“When he was 15 he spent a work placement on a farm that had chickens and after that he started buying Poultry World, at a time when his mates were probably reading FHM!’’ laughs Sharon.

“He was determined to have chickens.’’

The broiler enterprise was established when Edward came home from university, 40,000 in each crop initially and numbers have now increased to 120,000.

The business also diversified into the leisure industry, establishing Quackers, an indoor soft play centre at New Mead, where the Hammonds also farm.

Sharon has always taken an active role in the community – as a school governor and is the current chair of the governing body at Ysgol Calon Cymru high school.

But it is only more recently that she has become involved in campaigning activities on behalf of the farming industry in general.

“I always felt I should be fighting the corner for my own industry."

She is now the NFU Cymru county chair in Brecon and Radnorshire, using her voice to raise the profile of Welsh agriculture.

“Nothing annoys me more than injustice,’’ she admits. “When you see the misleading headlines about the damage farmers are doing, I am not prepared to sit down and shut up.’’