Finalists: Outstanding achievement 2021, sponsored by Neil Fell, Mobile Sheep Dipping

East Hull Community Farm

COLIN Dixon works at East Hull Community Farm, which is a registered charity occupying a 6.5-acre site in the centre of Hull on a housing estate and next to a school.

The majority of the farm is grass for stock but there is a small garden area where local volunteer groups grow plants, flowers and some vegetables.

On the farm, there are usually 300 free-range chickens, primarily for egg production, seven to eight Suffolk cross breeding ewes and a Suffolk tup. At any one time, there are 27 calves from a week old to several months, and there are also between eight and ten pigs, which come as weaners and stay through to ‘finishing’. In addition, there are numerous rabbits and donkeys.

The farm is a community project with one full-time member of staff and a few part-time staff, including Colin's wife, Trish, who is the charity's education officer. These staff are helped by a few local volunteers.

The farm provides an essential service to between 20 and 25 local adults and children with special needs and social disabilities. They come weekly and can learn about the animals and develop other learning skills at the same time outside of a classroom environment. These outdoor sessions often calm behaviour and allow greater interaction.

Members of the public are welcome to visit the farm at any time Monday to Friday. Entry is free but a small donation is always welcome.

Since March 2020, the farm has had to close its doors due to Covid-19 to ensure the safety of the vulnerable people who use the facility. This has meant the facility has had to operate differently, so over the last year, much more use has been made of the website, their Facebook page and YouTube videos in order to maintain contact with their clients and the public.

Hannah Jackson

HANNAH Jackson, known around the world as The Red Shepherdess, is not from a farming background, but at the age of only 28, she has established herself as a respected, innovative and passionate young farmer.

After completing a degree in animal behaviour, Hannah was enthralled by the birth of a lamb while on a family holiday in the Lake District, and decided to become a sheep farmer. She completed work experience on a sheep farm, before travelling to Australia for further experience. When she returned to the UK, she took on contract shepherding jobs up and down the country.

At her farm near Carlisle, there are 26 acres of owned grassland with a further 40 acres rented. In 2020, a further 11 acres were rented and have been sown with swedes for winter feed. For 2021 lambing season, there are 200 sheep to lamb with a further 50 young stock that will not lamb until 2022 season.

Hannah Jackson

Hannah Jackson

She now also has four dogs, two older more experienced ones, a young part-trained dog and a young puppy recently purchased from Emma Grey.

She has a few pygmy goats kept at present purely for pleasure, along with one pig, a dales pony, hens and ducks. "Together we are Team Red", she says.

Hannah posts about her work on the farm and working with sheep on Facebook under the title of Red Shepherdess, which has led to a following of more than 100,000. She also does some public speaking and writes for news and farming press. She launched her own range of clothing a year ago, comprising practical sweatshirts, hoodies, and hats, and in March 2021, Hannah's first book Call Me Red will be published.

Mark Rooke and family

THE Rooke family came to Beadlam Grange Farm, Helmsley, as tenants in 1962, when it operated as a dairy farm. They purchased it in 2000, but rethought their business plans after foot-and-mouth, taking the decision to expand the suckler herd. The farm now runs 100 Limousin sucklers, and has a farm shop, butchery and restaurant, as well as a caravan and camping site.

The farm is 300 acres, with 150 down to grass (permanent and two-year grass leys for silage). Fodder beet is grown for winter feed, 20 acres is let for potato production and 120 acres of grain is grown. All wheat is sold and barley is fed to finishing stock. The farm also has about 1,800 weaner pigs which are reared on a bed and breakfast arrangement for Ian Mosey Livestock Ltd, and a composting facility where approximately 1,000 tons of garden waste is taken from Ryedale District Council annually.

Mark Rooke & Family

Mark Rooke & Family

From the beginning, Mark's wife, Jenny, was the driving force behind the farm diversification into tourism and hospitality. Sadly, she was diagnosed with colon/bowel cancer in November 2019 and died just seven weeks later. The family are still feeling the loss greatly, but have Jenny’s vision of the farm enterprise to help them through each day.

On the farm now there is Mark, son Peter, and his wife Angela, daughter Helen, and coming along behind, Peter and Angela’s young son, William.

Mark and Peter work on the farm, while Angela manages the farmshop, butchery, deli and tearoom, and Helen runs her own business in the old cowhouse, Robert & Ruby – Country Gifts & Interiors.

As well as employing the whole family, the business employs between ten and 23 other staff.

During 2020, their services were adapted to enable customers still to purchase fresh produce. They also offer a click and collect service, and are cooking and delivering hot meals to the community.

  • The Northern Farmer Awards 2021 will take place – virtually – on Thursday, February 25. Log onto at 7pm to watch the ceremony. Get involved on social media using #northernfarmerawards