Calling all aspiring tenant farmers!

Posted on: 4 October 2018

Aspiring farmers are invited to explore four soon-to-be vacant farms on Devon County Council’s estate this month.

The viewing days will showcase the holdings, which will be available to rent from March 2019 on a seven-year Farm Business Tenancy. They include:

Ten Oaks Farm, Roborough, Winkleigh
A residential starter dairy farm extending to 37.82 ha (93.48 ac)
Viewing day Monday 8th October at 10am

Furze Cottages Farm, Ashreigney, Chulmleigh
A residential starter mixed livestock farm extending to 42.51 ha (105.08 acres) with an optional additional 30.56 ha (75.60 acres)
Viewing day Monday 8th October at 2pm

Churchlands Farm, Cadeleigh Park, Ivybridge
A residential starter mixed farm extending to 15.05 ha (37.19 acres)
Viewing day Wednesday 10th October at 10am

Fairfield Farm, Denbury, Newton Abbot
A residential starter dairy farm extending to 51.72 hectares (127.81 acres)
Viewing day – Wednesday 10th October at 2pm

Councillor John Hart

Devon County Council’s Leader, Councillor John Hart, said:

“Our farms estate offers a great opportunity for people looking to get onto the first rung in the farming ladder, and the holdings we have available now are designed specifically with new entrants in mind.

“Agriculture is an integral part of the Devon economy and wider community, and in difficult and rapidly changing times this sector needs support, to ensure local food production continues to grow for the future.

“The value of our Farms Estate is that it provides an opportunity for people to get into the farming industry.  Competition for tenancies is fierce, so as well as the usual experience and training, we look for those with the extra enthusiasm and drive to bring new ideas and opportunities to their small starter farm businesses.

“I encourage anyone looking to begin their careers in farming to find out more about the farms we have available to let and come along to the open days to discover how they can be part of maintaining and developing our thriving County Farms Estate.”

Devon County Council’s Farms Estate currently comprises 68 fully equipped residential dairy and mixed livestock farms categorised into starter and progression units ranging from 37 to 301 acres.

It’s managed by NPS South West, a joint venture company set up to provide property services to Devon County Council. They have produced a new ‘Guide to being a Devon County Council Farm Tenant’ to help potential and successful applicants understand what is involved from the application process, to taking on the tenancy and progressing to bigger holdings. It also includes case studies of previous successful tenants.

Land agents from NPS will be available at the various viewing days to provide information and answer any questions as well as supply initial application forms. Following the viewing day, potential tenants have until 5pm on Monday 29 October to submit their formal application and detailed business plan, which should include a minimum two-year cash flow and budget forecast.

Once shortlisted, NPS land agents visit candidates to discuss their business plan in more detail and prepare them for the types of questions that might come up at their interview.

The Farms Estate Committee Chairman and Vice-Chair conduct the interviews with one other member of the committee on a rota basis and decide who will be awarded the tenancy. The committee’s ‘Tenants Representative’ will also be there along with the NPS land agents to facilitate the interviews.

More information about Devon County Council’s Farms Estate can be found here: https://new.devon.gov.uk/economy/business-support/county-farms/

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