Humphrey Eddy and Dan Nattle- Lower Rosewarrick Farm, Lanivet
With his 77th birthday fast approaching and his wife unwell, the daily stresses of dairy farming were losing their allure for Humphrey Eddy. It was with mixed feelings that he told herdsman Dan Nattle that he was going to sell his established, organic herd of 100 “old-fashioned” pedigree British Friesians.
A local farmer’s son, Dan had always harboured an ambition to run his own milking herd, and the pair struck upon an idea whereby Dan would buy the cows, and keep them on Humphrey’s land.
They approached Fresh Start in Cornwall for professional advice and support to look at the most appropriate way to achieve their objective. A Farm Business Tenancy was identified as the best arrangement for both parties – enabling Dan to realise his ambitions, while providing Humphrey with a reliable income.
Fresh Start funded 70% of this support, which included an independent valuation of the herd, which Dan was able to buy with help from his family, and the formalisation of the tenancy agreement.
Since July, Dan has kept his new herd on 185 acres, leased from Humphrey. The former boss still lends a hand when his health allows, and has the satisfaction of still being able to see the Friesians on the land he has worked for 50 years.
What’s more, a £6700 grant from Cornwall Enterprise’s Dairy Collect project has helped to pay for a new, concrete turning area for the large, articulated tankers used by Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo) – helping Dan to keep supplying organic milk.
Dan sees this as key to the farm’s future. “Being organic is a great way to be different to your competitor. It’s a growth market, and there’s a good future in it.”
Humphrey agrees: “Dan will reap the benefits of doing things differently – especially with the Friesians. They respond well to grass management, so are the ideal breed for the job.
“In the future, people will come back to producing and marketing food locally – and when that happens, it’ll be very good news for farmers like Dan.”
While working closely with the national Fresh Start initiative, Fresh Start in Cornwall is a project unique in the UK, pioneered by the Cornwall Agricultural Council and hosted at Cornwall Enterprise.
It aims to improve the long-term vitality of Cornwall’s farming industry by assisting new entrants, and helping those already working in farming to explore new ways of doing things by offering advice and, in some circumstances, financial support to new projects.
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