Managing the County Farms Estate.
Dorset Property manage Dorset County Council's county farms estate, provide advice on agricultural issues to the county council and planning advice to district councils on agricultural matters.
Key facts about Dorset County Council's county farms estate:
- Dorset acquired its first farm at Marnhull in 1911
- Today's estate of approximately 2750 hectares is made up of 54 farms, mostly specialist dairy farms
- At present there are a small number of fully organic farms on the county farms estate
In 2011 The County Farms Estate Centenary Management Strategy (pdf, 365kb) (opens in a new window) was prepared and approved by the county council as the way forward for the management of the estate.
County Farms Newsletter
The latest county farms newsletter is available as a pdf document: County Farms Newsletter Winter 2012 (pdf, 933kb) (opens in a new window)
Applying for a county farm
As farms become available for re-letting they are normally advertised in the Farmers Weekly. In addition a mailing list is maintained, which potential tenants who satisfy the application criteria can join.
Tenants are chosen through a selection process which involves the submission of an application form. If shortlisted, a financial reference and the completion of business plan cash flows is required in advance of an interview. At interview there are usually two elected members, the Principal Land Agent and, where possible, representatives from the National Farmers Union (NFU) or Country Land and Business Association and Dorset County Farms Tenants Association.
The following criteria are considered by the selection panel:
- Applicants must have relevant practical farming experience which may include formal agricultural training.
- The amount of funding which a tenant should have will vary from farm to farm depending on the type and size of farm.
- The panel will scrutinise all aspects of the application to select the most suitable tenant.
Further information can be found in The County Farms Estate Centenary Management Strategy (pdf, 365kb) (opens in a new window) .
Improvements and alterations to the County Farms Estate
As part of the management of the estate, improvements and alterations to the county farms estate are undertaken by Dorset Property.