9 November 2001

New entrants are offered help

CHESHIRE County Council is continuing its policy of assisting new entrants to farming by offering long-term tenancies on three dairy holdings.

A number of county councils have sold off large parts of their farms portfolio, but head of county farms David Job says this is not the case in Cheshire. "We perceive the need is still required. It is a question of providing a service within the industry that is not available elsewhere."

However, he adds that restructuring of the 11,000-acre estate is ongoing. "Providing different types of opportunities is important, it goes beyond encouraging new people, we can also provide examples of good practice."

To this end, the county council says preference will be given to tenants who can show how good farming practice and environmental management are not mutually exclusive.

Each of the farms on offer will be available on a 15-year farm business tenancy, something Mr Job hopes will encourage young farmers to do well and then move on. No guide prices have been set but he says rents in the area are typically £100-125/acre.

At 76 acres, Meadow Farm, Ridley, near Tarporley, is the largest unit on offer and includes a three-bedroomed dwelling, a comprehensive range of buildings and 361,406 litres of milk quota.

Shotwick Lodge Farm, Saughall, near Chester, comes with 67 acres of grass, 368,521 litres of quota and a four-bedroomed house, while Woodside Farm, Dutton, near Warrington, comes with 44 acres and a three-bedroom house. The council has earmarked £75,000 for improvements because, although 300,000 litres of quota is included, there is no modern parlour. Mr Job reckons the farm would also make a good livestock unit.

He says interest in the properties has already been encouraging, with a number of new applicants coming forward. "We have had enquiries from across the country and demand seems to have picked up since the spring." &#42