Yorkshire Water grants young farmer opportunity to run Scow Hall Farm

23 year-old Robert McAneney will take over tenancy at Yorkshire Water’s Scow Hall Farm, under its new Beyond Nature Next Generation farming programme.

Yorkshire Water’s Next Generation Farming programme aims to support young farmers and was created as part of its Beyond Nature scheme, which supports farmers with sustainable land management.

McAneney grew up on his family small holding and currently works on an arable and Christmas tree farm in Darlington. The opportunity at Scow Hall will allow him to take on a farm of his own as a new entrant into the industry.

He plans to keep a flock of Oxford Downs and Cheviot mules alongside other livestock at Scow Hall Farm and will be supported in further business planning by Yorkshire Water and Nidderdale AONB’s Beyond Nature farming officer, Neil Pickard.

Beyond Nature forms part of Yorkshire Water’s Land Strategy and aims to strengthen the sustainability of its land.

At the same time, it focuses on supporting farm tenants to develop businesses that thrive. Yorkshire Water currently has nine farms signed up to Beyond Nature, covering 5,000ha.

5-year cycle

Yorkshire Water will rent the farm to McAneney for a five-year period. After five years, the company will support Robert to find a more permanent residency, and the farm will be rented to another tenant under the Next Generation Farming programme, thus creating a five-year cycle of mentorship for young farmers.

Of his new venture, McAneney said: “I’m really excited to start this new chapter. When I got the call from Yorkshire Water I was at work, out in the fields ploughing – my life changed overnight, and I immediately started planning what I want to do at Scow Hall Farm.

To have this kind of opportunity at this age is amazing, and the team at Yorkshire Water have been really supportive. I’m most looking forward to being able to develop Scow Hall Farm into a more sustainable farm and increase my flock to substantial numbers.

Gaynor Craigie, manager of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “We had almost 50 applicants to be our first Next Generation tenant, but Robert was the candidate that really stood out as he showed a great understanding of our vision for land and Beyond Nature initiative.

“He has an entrepreneurial mindset; understands the challenges we face on our land; and is keen to make a positive contribution to the future of land management.

“It is really exciting to see this programme come to life, and I look forward to working with Robert over the next five years.”