A big man with a big vision

Odiri Pollard, sheep owner and farmer (Photos by Delano Williams)

Willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifice

GROWING up in a family of farmers who reared cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other animals, Odiri Pollard said that he always saw his family as being very successful with what they do. It is for this reason he said that he has chosen to be a farmer, even though he is also involved in other forms of self-employment.
He added that other than the rearing of animals he also had the fortunate experience of cash crops and other agricultural produce being planted in the yard, as well as in the backlands by his family.
“So I feel encouraged to do this kind of thing… I grew among stocks and I am determined to make the sacrifice; to work hard just like my brothers and sisters out here. I also love the land and farming as a whole and so I want to make a success of my life with the things that I am doing,” he said.

Some of the sheep owned by Odiri Pollard

Pollard, 37, told the Pepperpot Magazine that he is originally from the village of Buxton, where most of his relatives still reside, but now lives in the village of Belfield on the East Coast of Demerara.

Animals are precious
“I have a lot of sheep, a lot more than I have here with me, and even among these I have some of the females here who are pregnant and so this stock would grow to be much more very soon,” he said. “Animals are dear to me – they are precious, I do not ever want to see them hurt or anything, and so I take good care of them and try to ensure that they are always well fed.”

Pollard said that he started out grazing his sheep in the village he currently resides, which is Belfield, but because of the changing weather conditions and the grass drying up he had to move his sheep to graze in the back dam of the neighbouring village, Nooten Zuil. “We live like family and so there is never any problem with me taking my sheep to get grass in the backlands of this village,” he stated.

He explained that he would usually have with him an assistant, who would help him steer his sheep since they were over 150 moving with him to the pastures at any one time.

“Animals are like people, they need our help. Sometimes they are in need of our guidance since they can fall in the trench and drown because it is deep; then many times we need to lead them to a place where they can get better feed so that they can strive better. This is why I am out here with them, along with my assistant. I want to make sure that they are happy,” he said.

Another set of sheep owned by Odiri Pollard

He said that he has other business that he is involved in such as planting, selling and other activities. He, however, makes the rearing of his sheep a priority.

Pollard said that that outside of successful farming in his family he learnt a very important thing, which is that people must respect each other at all times. “So I start off on the premise of love and respect for all people, including the people in the village where I graze my sheep. This means that I would not go and do things that will offend or hurt them or their crops in the backlands in any manner. After all, we all have to live and it must be in love and unity,” he posited.

This situation, he said, is a norm in the villages and in his community for a number of years, where there is always that unity; where people from nearby villages visit each other freely, whether it is for the purpose of grazing sheep or cows, or to transact some sort of business.