Devon mixed livestock farm wins farm diversification award
A farm near Ottery St Mary in Devon has won this year’s farm diversification award, sponsored by the Western Counties Agricultural Valuers’ Association. Mark Neason of Stags Professional Services explains what makes this farm so special.
Luke and Emily Knight of Knights Farm run a mixed livestock enterprise, comprising of 120 acres of rented land supplemented by approximately 80 acres of grass keep. The farm is stocked with South Devon cattle, Lleyn sheep and rare breed outdoor pigs.
What sets this farm apart however is that it also provides therapeutic care services for individuals with special and social needs including mental health issues, brain injuries and young offenders. Local schools also use the facility for pupils with special education needs. The farm offers a programme of supervised practical agricultural activities, which seem to foster a sense of purpose and responsibility within its clients.
In addition, the Knights run a very successful small farm shop selling farm produce directly to the local community. The shop makes great use of social media to sell produce made in the farmhouse, alongside vegetables and meat grown and reared on the land. The shop also sells produce from other small suppliers in the local area.
What particularly impressed the judges is the professional and proactive approach adopted by Luke and Emily, which has allowed them to enhance income from a relatively straightforward beef and sheep farm.
The Western Counties Agricultural Valuers’ Association is a specialist rural body providing professional advice and valuation expertise to landowners, tenants and countryside users throughout the South West.
The association sponsors the annual competition, which aims to reward innovative, viable and profitable farm diversification projects.