Yorkshire’s second largest landowner, Yorkshire Water, has launched a programme to support young farmers looking to rent their land.
Tying in with the company’s Land Strategy to “deliver exceptional land for Yorkshire, forever”, the initiative is part of its existing Beyond Nature™ scheme, which supports tenant farmers to deliver sustainable land management.
Within the European Union only 11% of farms are run by those under 40, with the largest proportion of farmers being over the age of 55. Now, Scow Hall Farm, located in the Washburn Valley, is the first farm to take part in the Beyond Nature™ starter farm initiative and will be let out to a young farmer for a five-year period.
Lisa Harrowsmith, lead surveyor at Yorkshire Water, explained: “After the first five-year lease, we will let the farm to another young farmer, therefore creating a cycle of opportunity for the next generation of farmers. Once the tenancy is up, we will assist that farmer with finding new opportunities on a permanent holding or elsewhere within the agricultural industry.”
Beyond Nature™ was developed by Yorkshire Water in 2016 when Humberstone Bank Farm first adopted the ethos, which holds sustainable land management at its core and prioritises nine key values. Scow Hall Farm has the potential to deliver on seven of those values, including: biodiversity, water quality, carbon sequestration, farming enterprise, social benefits, climate change and recreation.
Yorkshire Water’s Lisa Harrowsmith continued: “We are looking to create a programme of starter farms to provide new entrants and young farmers the opportunity to take on a farm and learn the Beyond Nature™ way of farming.
“We want to give young farmers the tools to create sustainable farms and will provide a mentor, training and business advice to encourage a sustainable approach to land management.
“Beyond Nature™ is at the heart of our Land Strategy – which focuses on how we can deliver exceptional land for Yorkshire.”
The initiative has been met with praise from across the industry, with Georgina Fort, county chairman of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Club saying: “Getting into farming is incredibly difficult so having initiatives like the Beyond Nature™ starter farm from Yorkshire Water is welcome as it enables a fantastic opportunity for a young farmer.”
Applications for Scow Hall Farm will open in late August – to stay up to date with the latest information by following Yorkshire Water on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.