Easton and Otley College reveals farm expansion plans

David Henley, principal of Easton and Otley College

David Henley, principal of Easton and Otley College - Credit: Submitted

East Anglia's main land-based college has agreed a farm expansion plan to reinvigorate its agricultural activities and improve the student experience.

Easton and Otley College's governors and the senior leadership team agreed to a number of recommendations, with work due to commence on projects later this year.

The plans for the Easton campus in Norfolk include:

• Advanced talks are underway to create a new pig breeding unit, to be run in conjunction with an industry partner.

• The college recently acquired an additional 57 acres of land at the Easton campus.

• A £40,000 tractor simulator has been purchased to give less experienced students in Norfolk and Suffolk an opportunity to learn how to drive large machinery in a safe environment.

• The college's existing sheep flock will be expanded.

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• The current dairy herd will be sold and replaced by a new herd of suckler cows.

• The poultry unit will be refurbished.

The plans in Suffolk include:

• The college has acquired an extra 55 acres of land thanks to the Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust – as a result, a suckler herd will be established at the Otley campus.

• The college's Charlotte Cobbald flock is set to increase from 60 sheep to more than 200. T

• An order for an industry-standard tractor has been placed to upgrade the farm machinery available to students in Suffolk

College principal David Henley said: 'We have always prided ourselves as a college in offering the full range of agricultural experiences that prepare students to work in the region and beyond. This investment will help us to continue to meet the needs of employers in the region reflecting the changing face of the industry with the accelerating pace of technological advances and shift in enterprise types.

'Having reviewed what we do and how we do it, we feel that we need to adapt and expand our agricultural facilities to reflect changing needs of both students and employers. Therefore, we are very excited about these plans.

'Our aim is to be one of the best land-based colleges – not just in the region but in the UK – by working with partners in industry and maintaining a range of our own farming enterprises we believe these plans will help us become that sooner rather than later.'