Forthcoming Events and Training
Horner Farm – FARM TO LET
The National Trust would like to invite members of the Exmoor Hill Farming Network to visit Horner Farm on Friday 15th September between 2.30pm and 4pm.
Horner Farm comprises approximately 78 hectares, a five bed farmhouse, a range of modern and vernacular buildings, permanent pasture, temporary grassland, orchards and grazed woodland and is the first farm to be let on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate for nearly 30 years.
This is an opportunity to visit the farm, look around the newly refurbished farmhouse, buildings and to hear from the National Trust representatives what is on offer and what they are seeking in a tenant.
Meet at the Horner Farm Gate in the Public Car Park at 2.30pm. Light refreshments will be available.
Address: Horner Farm, Horner, Minehead TA24 8HY
Booking essential please contact KWilliams@northdevonplus.co.uk or 01643 841455
Please note: If you are interested in applying to become a tenant of this farm it is a requirement that you instead attend the Official Viewing Day on 27th September 2017. Please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/farmstolet where more details will be available from 1st September..
Exmoor Women in Farming Group – September Visit
Date: Wednesday 20th September 2017
Venue: Northcoombe Farm, Chipstable ,Taunton, Somerset TA4 2QD by kind permission of Mr Ben Moody (sat nav’s not advised, map to follow)
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Peer Support Contribution: £5pp
Visit to a commercial calf rearing unit for Blade farming (ABP) specialising in dairy beef calves , rearing up to 1650 calves a year in batches of 110 , on milk machines. We will learn about the process involved and challenges faced.
Please ensure clean clothes and footwear is worn.
We will meet at Cutcombe Market car park at 6.20pm and travel down in convoy. Please let me know if you will be making your own way there.
Booking essential by Monday 18th September 2017.
We have a number of people requesting to complete their telehandler training, chainsaw course and certificate of competence in rodenticides if any of these training courses are of interest to you. Please let me know and they will be arranged on demand.
National Sheep Association
NSA has recently conducted a report on the Complementary Role of Sheep in Upland and Hill Areas.
See full report
Sheep Scab Control
After a successful meeting held back in June with support from Bridgmans, Bidmeda and Zoetic. Do take a look at http://www.scops.org.uk this website provide lots of useful information around scab mites, controls, how it can be prevented and treatment options. The key message received’ it can only take ONE sheep to infect a whole flock’. A couple of key points regarding Cydectin and the use of this product includes :
• 60 days persistency on killing Scab mite with one single injection of Cydectin 2% LA injection
• Cydectin is suitable for Organic farmers as it does not kill the dung beetle.
If you would like further events around this or other topics please let me know.
To book or for further information on any of the events above please contact the office
on 01643 841455 or email KWilliams@northdevonplus.co.uk
International Farm Management Association Conference
2nd – 7th July 2017, Edinburgh
Topic: 'Future Farming Systems'
Prof. John Wibberley, a long standing member of our farmer led steering group and recent member of Exmoor National Park Authority is attending the above conference. John has secured an opportunity to present the work of the Exmoor Hill Farming Network. The conference is an international event attended by academics, consultants and practicing farmers from across the world to share views, experiences, research and above all, best practices.
To reflect the current thoughts and benefits of the network, John has produced a questionnaire to gain your feedback. The idea is that other parts of the UK or commonwealth may learn from our Network and possibly introduce their own networks. All questionnaires will remain anonymous and will be dealt in strictest confidence. Download the questionnaire here.
Please return by email or post by 30th January at the latest. Postal address: Prof. John Wibberley c/o Exmoor Hill Farming Network, Cutcombe Market, Wheddon Cross, Minehead TA24 7DT.
If you would prefer a hard copy, please contact the office on 01643 841455 or reply to this email. In addition questionnaires will be available from our market office and at peer support/ future events before the deadline date. The results will be collated and details of the presentation will be available to members nearer the time.
If you are interested in finding out more about the conference please see their website for further information, please click here.
Activities since February - View here
Women in Farming Group - June Visit
9am - 1pm (Monday to Friday)
We advise to always call the office before making a journey to ensure someone is here as much of our time is spent out in the field.
Tel: 01643 841 455
EHFN JOB VACANCY ADVERTS
Over the last few months local businesses/individuals have approached the network to advertise jobs on Exmoor. We would be delighted to assist you with any marketing and able to circulate by email to over 500 members on our database . Please email adverts or copy to the Network officer. We ask for a £20 fee which includes emailing out to our members, advertised on our jobs page on our website and EHFN Facebook page.
To book or for further information please contact the office on 01643 841455 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FWAG SouthWest – Farm Plastic Recycling Scheme
FWAG SouthWest (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest), a regional charity, is operating its popular Farm Plastic Recycling Scheme again this spring. Farmers are invited to deliver their waste plastic to Cutcombe Market on Monday 22nd May and Blackmoor Gate Market on Wednesday 24th May 2017 or to one of its other 13 sites.
FWAG SouthWest can accept silage wrap, clamp sheet, small feed bags, fertiliser inners, netting, string, woven plastic, chemical containers and mineral buckets. This scheme is run annually for one day only at each site. There are no extra charges or membership fees - you just pay for what you bring (a minimum charge applies).
For more details and to book your slot please contact the FWAG SouthWest office in
Wellington on 01823 660684.
Exmoor Farmers State Their Position
Upland farmers from Exmoor have come together to state their ambitions to deliver for people and
the environment through a reshaped agricultural policy, as the UK prepares to leave the European
Union. The priorities of Exmoor farmers are twofold: firstly to keep the benefits for the public and
society from upland areas such as clean water, carbon storage, diverse wildlife, recreation and
tourism; and secondly to support viable farm businesses that also maintain the special landscape
features of the National Park whilst taking into account revised trading and support policies.
The “Exmoor Ask” is for a package of public and private investment, overseen by the National Park
Authority, together with expert advice, local monitoring, binding contracts and a focus on innovation
to develop new market opportunities. These ideas are being put forward by the Exmoor Hill Farming
Network following their ‘Brexit’ discussion meeting held in December, which was attended by over
50 people. The farmer-led steering group of the Exmoor Hill Farming Network has worked with
Professor Janet Dwyer of the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University
of Gloucester to produce a position statement from these discussions.
“Exmoor is special, shown through its designation as a National Park. It has been produced
by centuries of farming and the management of its iconic landscape features such as beech
hedges, heather moorlands and ancient woodlands,” said the Exmoor HillFarming Network’s
Chairman Dave Knight. “Exmoor’s farming families care deeply for this landscape and work
closely with many partners to protect and sustain it. We have over 30 years of experience of
which policies work well for Exmoor. The key to better delivery for the public and the
environment is working to national goals and policies through a locally customised scheme,
developed and monitored by a partnership of local farmers and agencies who know what
works in our area.”
The Network members have produced their position statement to increase understanding among
the general public, agencies, policy makers and those not familiar with upland farming and Exmoor.
It explains the range of benefits delivered by farming from food, clean water and wood, to wildlife, a
beautiful countryside and features of historical and cultural interest.
” The Network will continue to refine their “Ask” as more information emerges through the
coming months, working with other partners and farmer groups,” said Dave Knight. “We
want to be at the table for the ongoing discussions to develop a new agricultural policy as
we leave the European Union.”
Exmoor Hill Farm Network Christmas Review 2016
Left to Right: Katherine Williams, Bryan and Liz Griffiths and Dave Knight
Over 50 farmers joined us for our Annual Christmas Review at The Music Room, Woolhanger by kind permission of Mr and Mrs G Mellstrom on Thursday 8th December. The evening was an ideal opportunity to bring the farming community together to celebrate the networks third year. We enjoyed a 3 course meal with a review of the network activities and peer support groups. The evening was rounded off with our guest speaker Bryan Griffiths who was joined by his wife Liz. They are farming beef and sheep in North Devon and more recently runners up to the British Farming Award- Sheep Innovator of the Year. We held a draw , with grateful thanks to local donations from local businesses and an auction of table decorations raising £278.50 for the network and Childrens Hospice SW.
It has been a very hectic few months for the Exmoor Hill Farming Network.
We have secured sponsorship from Exmoor Farmers Livestock Auctions (EFLA) and Natwest. EFLA offers professional services including property and farm sales as well as running the livestock market where our office is based. Peter Huntley of Exmoor Farmers commented that they are delighted to be involved with the Exmoor Hill Farming Network and assisting by sponsorship, with the Network having a key role to play in the rural life of Exmoor. Sam Curtis -Director Business Banking Natwest said ‘’We’re delighted to sponsor the Exmoor Hill Farming Network, and look forward to working with them to help support the local farming community said. We thank both sponsors for their support this year. Further sponsorship opportunities are available.
Our peer support groups continue to be as popular as ever. The Women in Farming Group attended Royal Welsh Show in July for a two day study tour which included a visit to a goat dairy farm and Abergavenny Market. Our September meeting consisted of women getting ‘hands on’ for a Ram MOT evening with a local sheep vet. It was really well attended and full of important facts to consider when purchasing or looking over the rams that you already have on the farm. The Micro Farming Group visited a coastal farm learning about the challenges facing farming on the North Devon coast. Earlier this year we held a show preparation evening inviting a local judge to attend and run through the preparation of showing sheep from washing, carding, halter breaking and what to expect on the day of the show.
We continue to provide much needed training by improving accessibility to the courses being run on the moor. The topic of conversation this summer has been the changes in purchasing rat bait and to date we have trained 33 farmers. Since June 2014 we have assisted 108 farmers in their safe use of pesticides. We continue to provide sheep dip, chainsaw, first aid and telehandler courses to meet demand. The successful 8 week farm secretarial/ bookkeeping course is running again, for the second year with 14 attendees.
This autumn we have focused on promoting Exmoor and its sheep marketing. The meeting led by our chairman Dave Knight with representatives from a supermarket, buying group, abattoir, local auctioneer and AHDB gave us an insight into the different marketing opportunities available, making the most of selling timings and tweeking your marketing to maximise returns from your sheep. To follow on we recently held a practical lamb grading demonstration with an MLC grader and ewe condition scoring demonstration with a local sheep vet. We are hoping to visit a regional abattoir in the new year to put all we have learnt into seeing the finished product on the line.
In September we were delighted to receive the news that our chairman Dave Knight won the Exmoor Society Founders Award. It is for his work, in particular, in bringing farmers together, first with the forward farming group under the Exmoor Hill Farm project during 2009-13 and then as Chairman of its successor organisation, Exmoor Hill Farming Network (EHFN), which still incorporates that group. All Dave’s time is given on an entirely voluntary basis. EHFN Network Officer, Katherine Williams, said: “Dave is an absolute pleasure to work with and very passionate about Exmoor farming. I have a wonderful working relationship, with him often ringing him for his expertise or sounding out possible events. Nothing is ever too much trouble!”
The Network has engaged with just under 100 young farmers within the Exmoor area covering both Devon and Somerset counties. As a network we are keen to provide support for group sharing, learning and interaction. We are looking to arrange numerous events over the next 12 months. At present we are currently in the process of arranging a stock judging session. We also have 4 work placements to offer within the network, working alongside the network officer.
Earlier this month, after huge consultation with our farmer led steering group it was decided to hold a meeting with Exmoor Farmer’s viewpoints being essential to inform and influence future policy to support viable farming on our local uplands. It was well attended with 53 farmers taking the
opportunity to have their say. Professor Janet Dwyer from the University of Gloucester (Countryside and Community Research Institute), along with industry experts were present. Janet is currently preparing a summary of views and ideas for circulation. Prof. Dwyer undertook the renowned State of Farming Survey in Exmoor 2015.
In December, we are looking forward to our annual Christmas Review with local guest speakers Bryan and Liz Griffiths , beef and sheep producers from North Devon who in October were runners up in the British Farming Awards – Sheep Innovator of the Year. This event is a huge opportunity for likeminded farmers to come together for a social gathering, three course meal and a review of our 2016 network activities.
As ever we are very grateful to our funders Exmoor National Park Authority and The Prince’s Countryside Fund for their continued support to provide such a valuable resource to the farming community on Exmoor.
The Exmoor Society Founders Award 2016 Winner: EHFN Chairman Dave Knight
The Exmoor Society are pleased to announce that its prestigious Founder’s Award 2016 is given to farmer Dave Knight. It is for his work, in particular, in bringing farmers together, first with the forward farming group under the Exmoor Hill Farm project during 2009-13 and then as Chairman of its successor organisation, Exmoor Hill Farming Network (EHFN), which still incorporates that group. The EHFN focuses on improving farm incomes, profitability and sustainable land management. It is open to anyone involved in farming, with free membership, and organises training courses, farm visits, study visits, presentations and farm business support. All Dave’s time is given on an entirely voluntary basis. EHFN Network Office, Katherine Williams, said: “Dave is an absolute pleasure to work with and very passionate about Exmoor farming. I have a wonderful working relationship with him often found ringing him for his expertise or sounding out possible events. Nothing is ever too much trouble!”
Dave farms on North Hill on land rented from The National Trust and, on returning home from college, his father offered him ‘either wages or sheep’. He chose sheep knowing that, with good management and hard work, he could develop the farm business. Not only has he improved the performance of his sheep but of the grassland as well. No crops are grown on the farm which includes moorland as well as permanent pasture. All the cliffs and moorland have SSSI status. “I was completely blown away to hear of the award as it came as a complete surprise. I am honoured to have been recognised by The Exmoor Society because I am passionate about the state of Exmoor and its future”, said Dave. “Farming is at the heart of Exmoor both in providing a living from food production and for looking after the wonderful Exmoor landscape.” The award will be formally presented at The Exmoor Society’s AGM in September.
The Founder’s Award is sponsored by Halsgrove Publishing and is in recognition of notable service in furthering the Society’s aims. “Upland farming plays such a crucial role in maintaining the beauty, wildlife and heritage of Exmoor and in retaining its deeply rural community”, said The Exmoor Society Chairman, Rachel Thomas, “Dave’s work has brought farmers together though a network that responds to the many issues that farming faces and encourages the importance of conserving Exmoor’s landscape. He and his family have farmed in a particularly beautiful coastal area with spectacular views for more than four generations, playing a vital role in the local community.
Exmoor Hill Farming Network
Cutcombe Market, Wheddon Cross,
Minehead, Somerset TA24 7DT
Tel: 01643 841455
Office Hours: 9am - 1pm (Monday to Friday)
Website designed by North Devon+
kindly sponsored by: