YORKSHIRE Water has launched a programme to support young farmers who are looking to rent their land.

The company, which is the county’s second largest landowner, says the initiative is part of its Beyond Nature scheme which helps tenant farmers deliver sustainable land management.

Scow Hall Farm, based in the Washburn Valley near Norwood, is the first farm to take part in the Beyond Nature starter farm initiative - and will be let out to a young farmer for a five-year period.

Lead surveyor at Yorkshire Water, Lisa Harrowsmith, said: “After the first five-year lease we will let the farm to another young farmer, therefore creating a cycle of opportunity for the next generation of farmers.

“Once the tenancy is up, we will assist that farmer with finding new opportunities on a permanent holding or elsewhere within the agricultural industry.

“We are looking to create a programme of starter farms to provide new entrants and young farmers with the opportunity to take on a farm and learn the Beyond Nature way of farming.

“We want to give young farmers the tools to create sustainable farms and will provide a mentor, training and business advice to encourage a sustainable approach to land management.

“Beyond Nature is at the heart of our Land Strategy – which focuses on how we can deliver exceptional land for Yorkshire.”

Currently, within the European Union only 11 per cent of farms are run by those under 40 with the largest proportion of farmers being over 55.

Beyond Nature was developed by Yorkshire Water in 2016 when Humberstone Bank Farm first adopted the programme’s ethos, which holds sustainable land management at its core and prioritises nine key values.

It says Scow Hall Farm has the potential to deliver on seven of those values, including: *Biodiversity and water quality

*Carbon sequestration

*Farming enterprise and social benefits

*Climate change and recreation.

The scheme has been met with praise from across the industry,

County Chair of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Club, Georgina Fort, said: “Getting into farming is incredibly difficult.

“Having initiatives like the Beyond Nature starter farm from Yorkshire Water is welcome as it enables a fantastic opportunity for a young farmer.”

Applications for Scow Hall Farm will open in late August.

The farm is based below Yorkshire Water-owned Swinsty Reservoir, off of Brat Lane.

For more details visit www.yorkshirewater.com or follow Yorkshire Water on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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