Young Dales farmers offered help to explore business ideas

The Farmer Network has for many years supported young people to explore a farming related business idea, many of whom have gone on to create their own business. Some have set off to farm in their own right, while others have created new ventures that support farm  businesses.

Now called Farming Ambition, last week saw the successful launch meeting of this year’s Yorkshire Dales programme at Burnsall Village Hall in Wharfedale.

The Stockdale family from Oatcroft Farm, Burnsall gave presentations to more than 20 attendees about how they record flock data and how they have improved productivity and efficiency over the past three years.

Dan Stockdale described how when he returned to the farm business after college, they invested in new Farm IT equipment to use electronic ID and a digital weigh crate to monitor lamb growth rates, alongside dam and sire records. This has allowed them to identify the best and least productive animals.

Dan’s sister Beth is an accountant and introduced the use of a FarmPlan system a few years ago.

This enables the family to monitor business cash-flow and profitability of different enterprises. They both stressed the value of production and financial information in real-time. This is important for new businesses or enterprises in farming when farm support, interest rates and input costs are changing so much.

Their father Richard Stockdale, who is chair of the Yorkshire Dales Farmer Network, said: “I would really encourage any young people aged 18-40 in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Area who have a farming related businesses in their heads, to take the all-important first step, to get involved”.

Olivia Stones, from Arkengarthdale, who took part in the programme in 2021 is organising the workshops in the Yorkshire Dales.

She said: “Farming Ambition was a stepping stone to give me the skills and confidence to set up my own farm administration business which I combine with other jobs.

“I’m looking forward to helping others on the same journey.”

Some of the sessions will be delivered on-line, but the next two workshops are being run in November at Threshfield.

A free “Business Planning” meeting will be held on Sunday 12th November with business adviser Neil Pickard.

Then, a two day bookkeeping course will run on consecutive Sundays, the 19th and 26th November.

This will be delivered by Christine Thompson of Agricultural Business Training. The two-day course is  partly subsidised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund, meaning attendees will only pay £100 towards the cost.

here are only a few places left.

For more details contact Olivia Stones okstones@aol.co.uk or call/ text on 07890 142202 or look at The Farmer Network website https://www.thefarmernetwork.co.uk/projects/farming-ambition-programme/