July 24, 2017

Land Rover and The Prince's Countryside Fund help young farmers sow seeds for success with vehicle bursary

  • Winners announced for the 2017 bursary from Land Rover and The Prince’s Countryside Fund
  • Aged between 21 and 34, the five recipients will receive a Land Rover Discover Sport for a year to help develop their countryside careers
  • Winning projects include specialist beef companies, organic dairy farming and a highland tea grower
  • To find out more about Land Rover’s Prince’s Countryside Fund bursary, click here 

For the fourth year running, Land Rover has teamed up with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to award five entrepreneurial young people with a year’s loan of a Land Rover Discovery to help them develop their rural careers.

The winners, selected for their stand-out business plans, passion and dedication to making a difference in their local community include Falmouth-based, Jenny Dunstan, founder of Jenny’s Beef, which specialises in high-quality Piedmontese beef, and Lucy and Chris Williams, who are setting up a Scottish tea company, Tulloch Tea, in addition to creating a range of tea-infused beauty products.

Other recipients for 2017 are organic dairy farmer, Claire Howlett from Bromyard, who with her brother has just taken over the running of their family business, Wicton Farm, and suckler cow   farmer James Speers, who is also working to raise awareness about the issues surrounding   mental health and safety in the community as part of his role as president of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster. The fifth and final recipient is Lindale-based David Corrie-Close who, with his wife Bekka, has recently established the Horned Beef Company.

At a special event at Loseley Park in Surrey, the winners were each awarded their Discovery Sport, regarded as the world’s most versatile compact SUV with a wading depth of 600mm, a   towing capability of 2.2 tonnes and special features such as Terrain Response, making it capable  whatever the weather or terrain. They also received off-road and towing training from Land Rover Experience to prepare them for all terrains and weather conditions, in addition to  teaching them about the range of sophisticated off-road and towing technologies featured in   the vehicle.

Ms Howlett said, “I am delighted to have been chosen as one of the recipients for The Prince’s Countryside Fund Land Rover bursary this year. Farming can be a very isolating industry to work in, so I feel it’s vital to have a capable and reliable vehicle. It will provide flexibility, independence and confidence not only to easily gain access to remote parts of the farm with challenging terrain but also to attend events further afield, increasing the ability to network and gain new skills”.

Scott Dicken, marketing director, Jaguar Land Rover UK, said, “We are pleased to be able to once again support five more young farmers through our bursary with The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Since 2013, this scheme, in addition to contributing to the Fund’s grant giving programme, has enabled us to show our support for such a crucial part of the UK economy”.

“These young people are great advocates of the farming industry and their passion and dedication is a pleasure to see. Their entrepreneurial spirit is also showing the diverse options within farming and just how exciting and multi-dimensional a career in agriculture can be,” Mr Dicken added.

Claire Saunders, director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, added, “Over the past few years, we’ve seen what a difference access to a reliable and capable vehicle can make and we’re delighted to be able to once again work in partnership with Land Rover UK to support five ambitious young people who are making not only huge strides in their respective careers but also a major difference in their rural communities. The Fund is looking forward to following the journey of these exceptional young people over the next 12 months”.

The 2017 winners

Jenny Dunstan, Jenny’s Beef

Based in Falmouth, Ms Dunstan founded Jenny’s Beef in 2013 on her dad’s farm. She has just moved to another local farm and hopes to expand over the next three years. She specialises in Piedmontese beef, which is not common in the UK, despite being extremely healthy with high nutritional value, as the leanness hasn’t always met commercial specifications for supermarkets. Ms Dunstan also works to help local community farming projects, including AONBee's, which works to improve bee populations and the AHDB monitor farm programme, which aims to improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of arable and mixed farms.

Lucy and Chris Williams, Tulloch Tea

Mr and Mrs Williams are currently setting up a tea plantation in Bonar Bridge, Scotland, with the aim of creating a range of artisan tea, which will be sold at shops and cafes on the popular NC500 route. She also has a small herd of three dairy goats, which she is hoping to expand to 10 for both meat and milk. This will enable her to produce a range of goat’s milk beauty products infused with tea, including body lotion and soap. Mrs Williams will initially stock her products in the Highlands but is looking to expand to London, Edinburgh and abroad.

Claire Howlett, Wicton Farm

Ms Howlett returned to her family’s organic dairy farm in Bromyard three years ago to help put a succession plan in place allowing her and her brother to take over running the business from their father. Ms Howlett currently manages a herd of 120 organic autumn calving cows, with all the milk being supplied to Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo). Alongside this, she is looking at opportunities to expand into a beef enterprise. The farm is also committed to being a learning platform for local schools and colleges, giving students a chance to visit and learn about organic farming, where their food comes from and the wildlife which lives on the farm and surrounding countryside. Ms Howlett and her brother also offer work placements to inspire the next generation of farmers and help secure the future of farming.

James Speers, President, Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster

In addition to his full-time job as a rep for an agriculture company, Mr Speers has just recently agreed a 51 percent share in his family farm as part of a succession plan. During this process, Mr Speers decided to go back to the suckler cow farm model and did an AI course to learn about breeding and how to introduce a new type of genetics into the herd, improving the daily live weight gain on calves. He also runs breeding ewes and a store lamb enterprise. As president of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster, Mr Speers is focusing on farm safety and mental health within the farming community, as these are particular areas of concern. He is also helping with a land mobility project in conjunction with the Young Farmers Clubs and the Ulster Farmers Union, matching young farmers with older established ones to exchange skills and learn. Through these activities, Mr Speers hopes to help put young farmers’ views on the table while helping to position farming as a sustainable and profitable career path, getting more of the next generation involved and hopefully bringing down the average age of farmers.

David and Bekka Corrie-Close, The Horned Beef Company

Ms and Mr Corrie-Close are “Farming with Nature”, an ethos that considers the many other benefits that good land management can achieve in addition to food production. Their herd of 80 native breed cattle graze extensively on their 1,000-acre holding, which is made up of wildlife-rich land owned by the National Trust and other private landlords. They aren't from a farming family and they don't have a farm; all of their animals live outdoors year-round. Their innovative community crowd funding scheme helped them to set up the business; local people have been keen to support young farmers with a desire for positive change in the countryside. This unique farming system produces naturally slow-grown beef with an exceptional flavour that is sold online.