Land Army? We're fighting fit for our farm
When farmer Michael Besent died from cancer four years ago, his grieving wife Carol, 52, decided to carry on the family business rather than give it up.
And while mourning the untimely loss of their father, his three daughters backed their mother's decision by going to work on the 700-acre mixed arable farm as well.
Today, the four women are giving a new meaning to the term Land Girls by rolling up their sleeves and making a success of the £1 million pounds-a-year business.
Whether pulling up trees in the largely male-dominated farming community, or bringing in the harvest, the four are relishing the opportunity to make the business a success.
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Carol runs the farm with middle daughter Harriet, 25, who has a university degree in agricultural studies, and has roped in daughters Georgina, 28, and Katy, 21, for manual labour.
They are currently in one of their busiest times of the year when they bring in the harvest of 250 acres of barley and wheat, a task that requires 14 hour days.
Katy operates the combine harvester while Harriet drives the tractor and trailer alongside it to take the yield of 400 tonnes of barley corn.
Georgina takes charge of milking the herd of 180 dairy cows and although modern machinery extracts the milk, it's a job that still requires getting up at the crack of dawn.
Higher Melcombe Farm, in the village of Ansty, near Dorchester, Dorset, was run by Michael's father, Peter, who called the business Besent and Sons.
The irony of the name has not been lost on Carol, who has considered renaming it Besent and Daughters, but decided not to in honour of her late husband.
Harriet had intended to work on the farm and manage it one day after being taught the ropes by her father but she found herself thrown in at the deep end after he died.
She said: "It would have been easy to give the farm up after dad died but that would have meant his life's work would have just gone.
"Carrying and sometimes struggling on makes us all feel closer to him in some way.
"I hope he would be pleased and proud of what we are doing and keeping the farm in the Besent name."
Carol said: "There aren't many things that the girls can't do, although sometimes we need a little brawn and we do have a dairyman for that.
"Delivery drivers often turn up and start addressing the dairyman thinking he is in charge, but it raises a few eyebrows when he tells them they should be talking to Harriet!"
Michael Besent was aged nine when he moved onto Higher Melcombe Farm with his parents, Peter and Mary.
He took over the running of the business with Carol after they married in 1984 and they went on to have their three daughters. But he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died in 2009, aged 50.
Adds Harriet: "When I tell people I'm a farmer they don't always take it seriously – they just think I have a hobby farm with a few ponies."
How little they know...