Down on the Farm

Agriculture students from across the world – including Malaysia, Russia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Botswana, Spain, Finland and the UK – joined us to learn about farming techniques in the Yorkshire Dales.

45 under-graduates from Reading University spent time with farmer Rodney Beresford and his flock of sheep, getting hands-on experience assisting with herding, tagging and marking new-born lambs at the foot of Ingleborough.

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The students also met Colin Newlands of Natural England and learnt about the re-wilding of the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve and the challenges of managing the land responsibly to achieve a sustainable balance between people, biodiversity and profitable farming.

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Melanie, a PhD student from Manchester Uni who is conducting trials on the Reserve, told the group about her research into the impact of different types of livestock grazing on soil quality and carbon sequestration. This led to an interesting discussion about the possible implications for farming in the future.

Their Yorkshire Dales visit was rounded off with a trip to Keasden Head farm near Clapham, where the students heard about the embryo transfer and artificial insemination programme that Sheila Mason runs on the farm.

This is the second year that YDMT have arranged a study visit for Reading University students. Lecturer Yiorgos Gadanakis said “It has been fantastic again – it is one of the best visits of the year as the students can get stuck in and actually do something practical. It is useful to walk around the farms and to see the impact of the land and the local environment on farming.”

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Judy Rogers, YDMT’s ‘Ingleborough for All’ project officer, arranged the study visit with the aim of showcasing some of the different farming systems found in the Yorkshire Dales. Judy said: “It has been an opportunity to show the next generation of our land custodians some different farming techniques that ensuring a positive impact on the landscape. We also had some really interesting discussions, from biodiversity, diversification and subsidies, to EU membership and managing pests and diseases.”

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Ingleborough for All is part of Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of community and heritage projects that has been developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the programme will enable people from all backgrounds and of all ages to learn about, enjoy and help manage the stunning limestone landscape around Ingleborough, both above and below ground.

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