Young farmers having their say on the future of agriculture
The NFU’s latest Student and Young Farmer Ambassadors enjoyed a summer away day, when they visited a farm and country estate with the largest herd of British White cows in the world.
This year’s ambassadors spent a day at The Newt, in Somerset, with Cameron Knee where they heard about how much the programme benefited the farmer. He was part of the same cohort a few years ago.
The NFU programme has a year-long series of events designed to give its Student and Young Farmer members, aged 30 and under, the opportunity to have their say on the future of the agricultural and horticulture industry.
Cameron, originally from Somerset, went to university in Newcastle upon Tyne. He went on to be a farm consultant before becoming a manager. He’s since returned to Somerset where he became farm manager at The Newt.
‘I thought the next generation visit was a huge success, it was great to be able to share what we are doing at The Newt with the NFU Ambassadors,’ says Cameron.
‘Showing a different style of farming to a lot of people’s conventional roots. To be able to explain the process of field to fork all on one estate was a real privilege which seemed well received with so many engaging questions coming from the group.’
‘I thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my story of the past 10 years of my farming adventure and how I have gone from strength to strength as a farm manager, including my experiences as an NFU Ambassador and all the doors the programme has opened for me along the way.’
Inspired by all areas of the farm
Ambassadors enjoyed a tractor and trailer ride tour, learning about the Somerset landscape, Cameron’s plans for the future of the business and they also saw the British White herd, the farm’s flock of sheep and the estate deer.
A large wooden round house with a viewing platform allowed people to view the cows from above.
They then viewed the business’ butchery and farm shop, comprising a Himalayan salt drying room for ageing the meat for customers and chefs alike.
Suffolk farmer and Student and Young Farmer Ambassador Tom McVeigh said that he was taking ‘inspiration from all areas of the farm and wanted to duplicate it on a much smaller scale’ at home.
Following the tour of the farm, the Ambassadors went through the orchards and then met Greg Carnell, cellar master, who talked the group through their process for cider making and allowed them to taste some of their vintage stock.
The Newt (pictured, below) grows an impressive 70 varieties of bittersweet and Somerset apples, home to and pollinated by wild and native bees.
From there, they explored the gardens, including a parabola, which is a walled garden concealing an apple tree maze, with diverse woodland on the edges of the gardens providing a sheltered habitat for native wildlife.
Cameron revealed to the group that The Newt grows more than 350 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs to feed the restaurants and farm shop.
He added that produce from the farm not only went to their restaurants and hotels but was also sold to the London market via their online shop.
Photography kindly supplied by the NFU