Students learn realities of farming

Robert Thompson
Robert Thompson

A rural specialist stepped in to help students gain practical experience to complete a critical part of their agricultural degree.

As part of their course, the Newcastle University students are required to prepare a business plan in support of a tender to rent a farm.

The university needed the students to visit and use a real-life example. Land and property specialists George F White stepped in, providing Broxfield Farm, near Alnwick, for the project.

Dr Philip Cain, senior lecturer in farm business management at Newcastle University, said: “We could not run these projects without the help and co-operation of local farmers. It is essential that students are exposed to real-life business situations in their farm management course.

“Broxfield Farm gave the students a great opportunity to apply their management knowledge due to its size and mixture of enterprises.

“We have a good working relationship with George F White, who have specialist farming and agricultural knowledge, and kindly thank them for arranging the visit and talking to the students.”

The 650-acre mixed farm is currently run as a mixed organic farm producing Aberdeen Angus cross beef and organic cereals.

The farm also has a classroom facility for students to learn and take notes.

Robert Thompson, rural practice surveyor at George F White, prepared and delivered a presentation to the students which provided valuable insight into the real issues of renting land from both the land owner and tenant’s perspective.

Robert said: “One of the farm’s traditional buildings had previously been converted in to a classroom with desks and chairs where students could settle down and really learn about the practical aspects of renting a farm.

“We thought it would be most useful for the students to be given a short talk about the fundamentals of farm renting. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I wish the students all the best in achieving the results they need.”

Dr Cain added: “The students responded very well to the day which no doubt will be reflected in their coursework project so this visit is something they’re very grateful for.”