Sharing Best Practice – Worldwide

Tom Gardiner Photo v2 One of the key objectives of the Duchy is to encourage the next generation of farmers to examine best practice in new and innovative farming methodologies across the world. We are therefore delighted that the son of one of our tenants on the Needwood Estate in Staffordshire has been selected by the National Federation of Young Farmers to spend 3 months on a work placement in New Zealand.

In September, 19-year old Tom Gardiner of Hadley Farm will travel to one of the largest sheep, dairy and beef stations in New Zealand to see first-hand how they do these things down under. Limestone Downs in Waikato, owned by C Alma Baker Trust, covers 3,219 hectares and is home to 12,000 breeding sheep,1,000 dairy cattle and 2,000 beef cattle. Run by a Trust in Britain and a Board in New Zealand, Limestone Downs has long been a pioneer and a leader in the application of new technologies to traditional farming practices. In addition to offering overseas student placements, it contributes to and hosts a wide range of research programmes.

Commenting on his ‘trip of a lifetime’, Tom said: “There are just four of us who have been selected for the trip from right across the UK, so it’s a great honour to have made the cut. Having grown up on the farm, I am particularly keen to learn about ways in which we can increase our productivity and efficiency still further in the years ahead. The trip is a great opportunity to see what others are doing and then apply what is appropriate to our farming practices back home.”

Christopher Sparrow, the Duchy of Lancaster’s Head of Rural, believes that the future of farming lies in the sharing of best practice, worldwide: “This is the age of knowledge and of reference. We are all learning from each other all the time and in a practical occupation like farming what could be better than seeing how things work in practice. I am sure that Tom will thoroughly enjoy this experience and look forward to hearing about what he’s learned and how he thinks he can apply that to the family business.”

The Duchy of Lancaster already encourages young farmers to expand their learning and experience by funding places at the Oxford Farming Conference and providing bursaries at both Myerscough and Harper Adams Agricultural Colleges.