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Bishop Burton College chief exec refutes claims institute is ‘losing its way’

Principal and chief executive of Bishop Burton College, Bill Meredith, has refuted claims the institute was ‘losing its way’ in the sector, instead suggesting the farm was simply undergoing review.

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Concerns have been circulating among local farmers that the college was moving away from agriculture, following the sale of its pig unit and a shrinking dairy herd.

 

But Mr Meredith said the site had undergone multi-million pound developments to help students get practical farm experience and demonstrate commercial practice.

 

He said: “We have got a group of governors who we have been planning this with for the best part of 12 months, to make [the farm] better for student experience and make sure all of our enterprises can be bench-marked against commercial practice and hold their own.

 

Future

 

“Every aspect of the farm has been reviewed to make it fit for purpose, to deliver a margin and to make us Brexit-proof as far as we can.

 

“We think we are best placed for the future.”

 

The farm’s 85 dairy cows are to be replaced with 100 in-calf Stabilisers, which will be reared on grass within the perimeter of the farm.

 

Some will then be taken for finishing, some sold as high-value breeding stock and others kept back as replacements.


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The college has also entered a joint venture with JSR Farms, ‘whose motivation is not profit’ but to establish a centre of excellence for pigs in East Yorkshire.

 

“Pigs are very important to us,” Mr Meredith said.

 

“Both our farrowing and finishing units will be redeveloped with the help of JSR.

 

“But we have to get rid of one load of pigs before we can get another.”

 

The college runs about 300 ewes as well as some arable cropping and has just launched a £1.2 million institute of technology, equipped with precision technology primarily for arable, which is to be built over the next year.

 

It has also employed a new farm manager who will start next month.

 

Mr Meredith said: “We are keeping local farmers up-to-date because we want to get them on board right from the start.”

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