One of the Newbie UK case studies featured the story of the Snowdonia Shepherdess, whose entry into farming was supported by a unique fellowship scheme that granted access to a landmark trust tenancy in the Welsh uplands. Since Newbie UK last checked in on Teleri Fielden’s progress she was nearing the end of this programme with a big question mark with regards to whether it had truly provided a pathway into a long-term agricultural career. It is incredible to learn that the Snowdonia Shepherdess is taking on a 100 acres of land on a long-term tenancy nearby in the Snowdonia national park. Teleri wrote of the process, posting on Instagram:
“Two interviews, 50 pages of business plans, proposals and cash flows, a tour of land we already manage, applications forms, HOURS pouring over plans and finances and endless uncertain feelings of ‘can we do this?’…. but feeling like the luckiest couple in the world right now to be taking on this beautiful 100 acres in a place we already call home, on a 10 year tenancy.”
Key to the process and what makes the mentorship scheme unique, is that it placed the new entrant fellows in contact with neighbouring long running farms. This provided the fellow with a direct network of important contacts and local knowledge about how best to farm in the area. Teleri discussed this process in an interview about rethinking farming with the bbc: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000p734
Teleri’s story has important implications for the deployment of mentorship schemes to support new entrants into agriculture.