Local BBC explores Future Farm

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Staff and students from Duchy College Stoke Climsland had an exciting opportunity to contribute towards BBC Radio Cornwall’s LIVE broadcast at the College’s “Future Farm” research facility.

The £4 million-pound farm at Duchy College Stoke Climsland, part of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG), is at the forefront of the next evolution of environmental farming, and was the chosen location for a LIVE radio programme.

The show focused on the future of farming in Cornwall, highlighting the role of technology in driving the industry forward.

Venetia Summers, head of campus, discussed the importance of working with local businesses to address some of the issues faced by the industry;

“Our staff and students are passionate about the industry they work in, so the main role for us as a college is to fill the skills gap that currently exists in agriculture, and work with local employers to fill that gap.”

Working in agriculture for several decades, farm manager, Duncan Elliott, expressed his perspective on the future of farming in Cornwall;

“Everything we put into the cow, and everything coming out of the cow has value for something, so we’re adapting to research and pass-on that knowledge to students, the future generation of farmers.”

With 22 years of experience in managing and running medium to large scale dairy farms, Ed Parrish, director of land-based operations at Stoke Climsland and Bicton, reflected on working working with livestock, and seeing the students progress;

“It’s amazing to see our learners coming to the college for the first time, going through their studies, and then seeing them graduate and succeed in their chosen careers – it’s why we do what we do.”

BBC’s James Churchfield spoke to herd manager, Caitlin Hancock, who shared her farming experiences and thoughts on working in farming, emphasising, “there’s definitely a place for women in agriculture”,

“When I was a student, the number of girls on my course was pretty low, but ten years later there’s been a drastic increase in female learners choosing land-based studies.”

The broadcast was a great opportunity for Future Farm to showcase their innovative approach to farming and share their insights on the future of the industry in Cornwall.

Robin Jackson from the Rural Business School, RBS, spoke of their specialist team undertaking Farm Net Zero research, consultancy and knowledge exchange with industry, academia and government.

Meanwhile, Ginny Knight, 1st year FdSc Agriculture student, was amongst the student interviewees, she expressed, “I always enjoyed being outside, working with cows and learning about the different farming methods.”

BBC Radio Cornwall’s radio programme, on Wednesday 3rd May, at the “Future Farm” highlighted the importance of technology and skills development in shaping the future of agriculture in the region, as well as organisations like NFU and other local farms like Treway in St Austell.

To listen back to the programme, James Churchfield – 03/05/2023 – BBC Sounds

For more information on the range of agriculture courses, full time or part time, visit