THE many challenges facing the farming community were discussed when young farmers met with the High Sheriff of Cumbria, David Beeby, and representatives from the Cumbria Community Foundation and Westmorland Ltd.

This Farming Life stars Matty and Dani Blair hosted the visit, at Thrimby Grange near Little Strickland, and were joined by The Farmer Network Farming Ambition Programme participants Murray Craig, Holly Potter and Rachel Graham. The visit gave them the opportunity to discuss the many challenges and uncertainties facing the farming community and how the programme helps young people with business training, advice, grants and loans.

The Cumbria Community Foundation supports many of the Cumbrian participants on the Farming Ambition Programme and also provides funding for the Farmer Network Training Voucher scheme. Westmorland Ltd sponsors the Farmer Network and its staff provide mentoring for young people who are developing food products for retail.

Kate Gascoyne, project manager for the Farming Ambition Programme, said: “The High Sheriff is a businessman, coming from a farming background, and he understands how different and difficult it is to establish and grow farming-based businesses. Inspiration and support from David Beeby, the Blairs and other farmers are key to encouraging new entrants to farming at this time of great change – they need to be innovative, determined and hard-working, as most of them certainly are, underpinned with good business skills. We have places for five more participants on our Farming Ambition Programme this year for people aged 18-30 in Cumbria and Yorkshire Dales.”