James Standen - Achieving excellence in university and college farms. Implementing best practice from home and abroad
I always wanted to be a farmer, my memories of accompanying my grandfather around the farm he managed are engrained in my mind. Despite his best efforts to persuade me to take up a different career I attended Wye College to study Agriculture which I followed up with an MSc in Agricultural Economics.
After leaving Wye I joined ADAS as a Farm Business Consultant, where I developed a client base of farms taking on the Farm Manager role. After a move to another company my largest client asked me to go full time so I took over the management of The Montreal Estate in Kent. I took the Estate through two restructures, it's sale, and was part of the start of a major reinvestment programme. After this I moved up to North Yorkshire where my wife and I have taken on the tenancy of a 300 acre farm. The farm is arable and grassland with a holiday cottage, fishing lakes and a large environmental stewardship scheme. It is home for us and our two young children. Since taking on the tenancy we have become LEAF Marque certified and introduced a mixed low input arable/sheep system fitting around our environmental objectives. My wife and I run the farming business in partnership while I am also Director of Farming at Newcastle University.
Since joining Newcastle University I have started to restructure the farms to improve the commercial performance. I am also improving how the University uses its farms both in terms of education and research. I enjoy inspiring and motivating others to choose farming as a career and to seek to play a role in the future of the industry so I'm pleased to be involved with Newcastle University and delighted to take up the opportunity offered by my Nuffield scholarship.
I am without doubt only able to undertake this Nuffield Scholarship with the unwavering support and encouragement of my wife, Frances. I would like to thank the John Oldacre Foundation and Nuffield Farming for sponsoring my Nuffield Scholarship, and Newcastle University for their support, I look forward to all it brings.