Northumberland College is supporting an enterprising employee who will work with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to transform a leading hill farm into a model of sustainable, environmentally friendly farming.
Carlcroft Farm, a 1,200-acre hill farm near Otterburn, Northumberland, was rented by Northumberland College from the MOD on an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy dating back to 1979 and has supported generations of hill farmers to study the art of livestock husbandry in this challenging landscape.
The tenancy for Carlcroft Farm, which is predominantly a sheep farm, was of particular interest to Mark Day as he was working as a Shepherd on the farm and employed by Northumberland College.
When the college remodelled its curriculum offer in agriculture, in line with strategic regional and local priorities, it took the opportunity, in partnership with the MOD, to relinquish the hill farm tenancy as part of a bigger plan to create an exciting new farming development and support Mark in his pursuit for self-employment.
The entrepreneurial Shepherd was successful in the MOD’s robust tenancy application process and will remain on the farm with his family. As a result, the MOD is planning to work with Mark to develop Carlcroft into a model leased farm by supporting environmental enhancements which will help achieve mutual benefits such as sustainable farming, thriving plant and wildlife, landscape and ecosystem recovery, and long-term prosperity aligned to the Government’s new Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes.
Nigel Harrett, Principal of Northumberland College, said:
“We were delighted when we heard that Mark was successful in his application and will take on the tenancy of Carlcroft Farm. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the farm and for Mark. He is enterprising, hardworking and dedicated to farming and the environment, and we know our ongoing relationship with Mark will lead to great things in the future.
“However, the MOD Carlcroft Farm strategy is only phase one of Northumberland College’s aspirational agricultural plans and in the coming weeks we will be announcing an exciting second phase development as we continue to strengthen our agricultural and sustainability strategy. I look forward to sharing more about these developments in due course.”
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