A 23-year-old farmer is set to take over the tenancy of Yorkshire Water’s Scow Hall Farm under the firm's Next Generation farming programme.
Yorkshire Water will rent the farm to Robert McAneney for a five-year period as part of the scheme, which supports young farmers with sustainable land management.
Mr McAneney grew up on his family small holding and currently works on an arable and Christmas tree farm in Darlington.
The opportunity at Scow Hall, which extends to 84 hectares, will allow him to take on a farm of his own as a new entrant into the industry.
He plans to keep a flock of Oxford Downs and Cheviot mules alongside other livestock at Scow Hall Farm.
“When I got the call from Yorkshire Water I was at work, out in the fields ploughing– my life changed overnight, and I immediately started planning what I want to do at Scow Hall Farm," he said.
“To have this kind of opportunity at this age is amazing... I’m most looking forward to being able to develop Scow Hall Farm into a more sustainable farm and increase my flock to substantial numbers.”
Gaynor Craigie, manager of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said the firm received 50 applicants to be the first Next Generation tenant.
But Robert was the candidate that 'really stood out' as he showed a 'great understanding' of Yorkshire Water's vision for land and nature.
“He has an entrepreneurial mindset; understands the challenges we face on our land and is keen to make a positive contribution to the future of land management," she said.
"It is really exciting to see this programme come to life, and I look forward to working with Robert over the next five years.”
After five years, Yorkshire Water supports its tenants to find a more permanent residency, and the farm will be rented to another tenant, creating a five-year cycle of mentorship for young farmers.