A "farming ambition" programme which supports young people to explore an agriculture-related business idea has had a successful launch for this year.

The Farmer Network event for the Yorkshire Dales scheme took place at Burnsall Village Hall in Wharfedale.

The Stockdale family from Oatcroft Farm, Burnsall, gave presentations to more than 20 attendees about how they record flock data and how they have improved productivity and efficiency over the past three years.

The Northern Farmer: The launch meeting for this year's Farming Ambition programme, at Burnsall Village Hall

Dan Stockdale described how when he returned to the farm business after college, they invested in new farm IT equipment to use electronic ID and a digital weigh crate to monitor lamb growth rates, alongside dam and sire records. This has allowed them to identify the best and least productive animals.

Dan’s sister Beth is an accountant and introduced the use of a FarmPlan system a few years ago. This enables the family to monitor business cash-flow and profitability of different enterprises. They both stressed the value of production and financial information in real-time. This is important for new businesses or enterprises in farming when farm support, interest rates and input costs are changing so much.

Their father Richard Stockdale, who is chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Farmer Network said: “I would really encourage any young people aged 18 to 40 in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Area who have a farming related businesses in their heads, to take the all-important first step, to get involved."

Olivia Stones, from Arkengarthdale, who took part in the programme in 2021, is organising the workshops in the Yorkshire Dales. “Farming Ambition was a stepping stone to give me the skills and confidence to set up my own farm administration business which I combine with other jobs," she said. "I’m looking forward to helping others on the same journey."

Some of the sessions will be delivered on-line, but the next two workshops are being run in November at Threshfield. A free “business planning” meeting will be held on Sunday , November 12 with business adviser Neil Pickard.

Then, a two day “book-keeping” course will run on consecutive Sundays, November 19 and 26. This will be delivered by Christine Thompson of Agricultural Business Training. The two-day course is partly subsidised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund, meaning attendees will only pay £100 towards the cost. There are only a few places left.

For more details contact Olivia Stones via okstones@aol.co.uk, call/ text on 07890 142202 or look at The Farmer Network website www.thefarmernetwork.co.uk/projects/farming-ambition-programme/.