Cumbria farm joins network to become more sustainable

James Turner manages Brackenburgh Home Farm, an 800-hectare mixed farming enterprise, with trainee manager Henry Scholefield
James Turner manages Brackenburgh Home Farm, an 800-hectare mixed farming enterprise, with trainee manager Henry Scholefield

Two Cumbrian farmers are wanting to embrace new ideas to become more sustainable as their farm is the latest to join AHDB’s Farm Excellence network.

James Turner manages Brackenburgh Home Farm, an 800-hectare mixed farming enterprise, with trainee manager Henry Scholefield.

Alongside the 300-hectare arable enterprise, the farm has a dairy unit, sheep, hill cattle and pigs.

During the three-year programme, the farmers said they have an aim to embrace new advice and incentives to become more sustainable.



They said they hoped to seek rewards from natural capital assets while also developing Henry into a strong successor to manage the business going forward.

Farmers in Cumbria will now have the opportunity to discuss challenges and share expertise on topics that are of interest to the group.



Topics to be covered by Brackenburgh Home Farm - which is now Penrith’s Monitor Farm - over the next three years include soil health, integrated pest management and succession.

“The programme will be invaluable for us and for the area as it will bring industry experts and specialists into Cumbria," Mr Turner said.

“As farmers, we need to balance running a sustainable enterprise with being a profitable food-producing farm and this programme will help us consider all aspects of our business.

“Local farmers should get involved because it is great for us to get together to share information and learnings.”

Michelle Nuttall, AHDB knowledge exchange manager for Cereals & Oilseeds, said the monitor farm network was a 'great way' for farmers to share ideas.

“Having the first monitor farm in Cumbria is particularly exciting as it will allow us to reach more farmers and help them develop their enterprises.”

Part of AHDB’s Farm Excellence programme, monitor farms bring together groups of farmers interested in improving their businesses by sharing best practice around a nationwide network of host farms.



Although there will not be any meetings at Penrith’s Monitor Farm in the short term due to coronavirus, Mr Turner and Mr Scholefield will be taking part in the NW & NI monitor farm summer meeting on 25 June.