Former ag student returns to college to run 900-acre farm

James Richardson, Bishop Burton's new Farm Manager, studied agriculture there from 2008 to 2010
James Richardson, Bishop Burton's new Farm Manager, studied agriculture there from 2008 to 2010

A former agriculture student who ended his studies over ten years ago has returned to his old college to take over its 900-acre farm.

James Richardson studied agriculture at Bishop Burton College from 2008 to 2010, before returning home to work on his family’s beef and sheep hill farm in Derbyshire.

He then joined Dyson Farming as a herdsperson two years ago, working in Gloucestershire.

Now James will take over the running of the college’s farm, which has nearly 900 acres split between arable and grassland, with units for pigs, beef and sheep.

James said that, as a former student, he had an affinity with the college and was delighted to be back in Yorkshire.

“My passion lies in regenerative farming and achieving zero net carbon, while retaining very high standards of day-to-day operations and animal welfare," he added.

"I am already planning a number of developments, including using technology to record and analyse animal performance data to inform breeding and management decisions.”

Bishop Burton is heavily involved in regenerative farming, with both livestock and arable operations geared to helping it achieve its aim of zero net carbon in the next ten years.

It is also working to ensure that the benefits of new technologies such as precision farming, robotics and automation are maximised to support sustainable farm businesses post-Brexit.

James said he would work with the college's students and tutors to ensure the farm utilises all these resources.

Bishop Burton Principal Bill Meredith welcomed the return of James to the college after his 11 year absence.

“The aging population of farmers is a well-recognised issue for the future of agriculture so we are focused on bringing new blood with the necessary skills into the sector," he said.

"The farm is central to all of our agriculture courses and I am delighted that our new Farm Manager is a great example of how acquiring the right skills can lead to a range of careers in farming.”