Mat Cole has high hopes for the future of Dartmoor farming

As we close the lid on 2011, it is perhaps a good time to reflect. The fantastic trade for beef and lamb last year would have been great news if it were not mirrored by massive cost rises. Let’s hope things settle down and that sustainable strong prices are here to stay and that costs steady.

The farm continues to develop, with Neil moving to Princetown to manage the prison farm, and we now have two strong units that compliment each other. There has been a lot of work done in 2011, with still plenty to do, but it is great to see things coming together.

We have taken on Dave and Mark, who we have helped to train over the past three years alongside other Dartmoor farmers through Moorskills Apprenticeships. Rough diamonds would be a good description, but they are both maturing into very capable lads who are a pleasure to work with.

It has also been a great year for Dartmoor Farmers Ltd. The co-operative company that I helped to set up continues to grow, engaging in new markets and partnerships – some more successful than others. But with the hard work and determination of the directors and all involved, I am sure it has a great future ahead, helping to secure the long-term sustainability of farming on Dartmoor.

2011 will always be the year Tom Henry Cole was born and, although we have dark circles around the eyes most of the time, Gemma and I absolutely love being parents. Happy new year.

Mathew Cole, his brother Neil and parents Arnold and Bridget, farm 1,800 acres on and around Dartmoor. They keep South Devon and Galloway suckler cows as well as Scotch and Swale ewes on the hills with mule lambs bred to sell inby. They also have pedigree flocks of Bluefaced Leicester and Whiteface Dartmoor ewes.

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