PUBLISHED: 13:03 19 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:52 20 February 2013
From feeding a growing population and looking after the land to educating future generations, Dorset's farmers have an important job on their hands. Claire Budd meets eight of the county's movers and shakers...
Wakely Cox Supporting Dorset Farming
Wakely and his wife Caroline farm at Warren Hill in Puddletown. They have a mixed farm of arable, sheep and beef and also rear dairy heifers. The farm is now in its fifth generation with Wakelys sons working on the land. Over the years Wakely has been praised for his support for Dorset farming, taking part in many committees and promotional activities; you can meet him and fellow farming hero John Hoskin at this years Dorset County Show
Dorsets Farming Future: Farming is always a challenging occupation dealing with the elements and adhering to Government and EU legislation. One has to look at the costs and structure of the farm and its different enterprises and try to adapt to the ever changing economic climate. But the future is positive. We live in an ever expanding country that needs feeding and it is the farmers and growers that will provide. Shipping in food from abroad will not always be sustainable with the ever-increasing cost of fuel, so home grown is the way ahead.
My Perfect Place: Our farm, at the top of the hill with a picnic at harvest time. I can see down into Puddletown and beyond to the Lulworth Hills and way to the north to Bulbarrow and the Dorset Gap and out west to Hardys Monument.
Nick Cobb Dairy Farming Champion
Nick farms around 3,500 acres in partnership with another local family along Dorsets World Heritage coast near Lulworth. He supplies milk to Marks & Spencers and is committed to delivering world-class welfare standards for his cows. In 2008 he won the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup (National Milk Records /Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers), the industrys most prestigious award for excellence in dairy farming.
Dorsets Farming Future: We have always focussed on managing the environment where we farm but this is increasingly moving towards wider environmental issues such as carbon foot printing. The economic backdrop has also meant that we have had to grow our business to remain competitive, and look for new technology and people to help with this. Farming in Dorset has a great future. We are perfectly located, with a great climate and good soils to grow high quality crops and easy access to London and the rest of the country. Whats more, so many people love coming to Dorset that there is a positive association with food produced here, which can only help.
My Perfect Place: The Heritage Coast path between Ringstead and Lulworth Cove. Our farm runs right down to the coast and on a clear day it has to be one of the best views in the world, perfect for a walk or a picnic!
James Cossins The Farmer Publican
James Cossins is a sixth generation farmer at Tarrant Monkton near Blandford. He has 360 dairy cows, 80 beef cattle and 1,500 acres of arable land producing wheat, barley and oil seed rape. He also owns and runs the award-winning Langton Arms with his wife Barbara.
Dorsets Farming Future: In the past few years milk has become more difficult as costs have risen faster than prices and the increase in regulations and red tape. But the demand for local food has increased. At the Langton Arms we source local food, including produce from our own farm. There is a big demand for food that is produced locally this gives farming in Dorset has a bright future.
My Perfect Place: The Langton Arms at Tarrant Monkton, Bradbury Rings and Kingston Lacy.
Sam Edwards The Next Generation
18 year old Sam Edwards has just been named NFU Agricultural Student of the Year at Kingston Maurward College. Dorsets Farming Future: I believe that farming in Dorset has a bright future. Being in an agricultural college gave me a good over view of the future of Dorset's farming. There were students from right across the industry, many of us achieved high grades and everyone came out with extra certificates. We had many farm visits and talks from people in the industry so we could make sure that we were on the ball and ready for all challenges when we finished the course.
My Perfect Place: In the cab of my tractor as Im driving up and down the fields! There is a great view from a field we have just be combining, looking west down into the Grimstone Down, east to Lulworth and the Purbecks and north through the Cerne Valley.
Robert Lasseter NFU Chairman
Dorsets NFU Chairman, Robert Lasseter, farms 400 acres at Corton Farm, Friar Waddon in Weymouth. He has 150 sows and grows wheat and barley to feed the pigs as well as oil seed rape. All the straw is used by the pigs and then returned to the land. He markets his pigs under the Freedom Foods logo, the highest animal welfare standard, and runs a unique farrowing system.
Dorsets Farming Future: Dorset has an extremely bright farming future. We have a great college to supply the next generation of farmers and, unusual, we are extremely lucky to have a County Council that provides a farming ladder for new entrants. In addition we have lots of very professional businessman as famers who will rise to the challenge of feeding the world and impacting less on the land. They are all looking for good dedicated staff to join them in rewarding careers. In fact there are now more opportunities in agriculture, than ever before.
My Perfect Place: Our home and Hardys monument - from there you can see the Heritage Coast from the Isle of Wight to Start Point, the heath lands, the downs and the vales and over every fold in the countryside.
Clare Davison Educating Future Farmers
Championing farming education is Clare Davison, Principal of Kingston Maurward College. The College seeks to provide accessible high-quality training and education in land based subjects to meet the needs of the rural economy. It works in partnership with many organisations including the Royal Veterinary College, the Royal Agricultural College and the NFU.
Dorsets Farming Future: Climate change, food production and green energy are key topics in the classroom. We are confident that farming in Dorset has a very bright future. The College works hard to market agriculture and its ancillary occupations to prospective students as a complex, technical and satisfying career.
My Perfect Place: The view from my office window is stunning in all seasons.
John Hoskin Farmer of the Year
John Hoskin, whose family have farmed in the West Country for centuries, is Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year 2010. He has farmed in the county for 23 years and looks after nearly 2,000 acres near Maiden Castle with beef, sheep and arable; he has also diversified into garden nursery, allotments and DIY livery.
Dorsets Farming Future: Farming at Maiden Castle involves working alongside the demands of the general public. We are involved in conservation schemes and the farm has the highest number of skylarks and corn buntings in Dorset. We are working to meet the increased demand for Dorset produce, as more people realise the value of locally produced food and the reduction in food miles.
My Perfect Place: The top of Maiden Castle Hill Fort on a fine day, also Golden Cap and the Blackmore Vale viewed from Bulbarrow Hill.
Jon Stanley The Aspiring Farmer
Jon Stanley farms with his wife Clea at Allans Farm, West Melbury. The farm is part of Dorset County Councils Farm Estate which has been providing a farming ladder for aspiring farmers for 100 years together with an income for Dorsets ratepayers. Jon, who only started farming this year, farms 109 acres and runs a herd of 86 pedigree Jersey cows, selling milk to cheese makers Wyke Farms.
Dorsets Farming Future: I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to start farming on my own account, which has been my lifelong ambition. Dorset County Council is a farming hero and should be championed for its commitment and support through maintaining and enhancing its farm estate. Without their support I would not be farming today. Farming needs new blood to enter the industry and the County Farms Estate makes this possible. Because of this farming in Dorset has a positive future as there is a way for people to enter the industry.
My Perfect Place: Allans Farm with its views over the Blackmore Vale towards Cann Hill and Shillingstone.