Nick has managed the farming enterprise of the 3,200ha Yattendon estate since 2017 on behalf of Velcourt, after management roles in Wiltshire for the past 14 years. The huge site includes 2,000ha of combinable crops which are established in a min-till system. The Estate is also home to 130ha of Christmas trees and 160 let properties plus 40 commercial and light industrial units which have been converted from old farm buildings.
Nick said: “We are large scale but a lot of the land is marginal meaning the best fields effectively subsidise the worst. So if we have to take land out of production to access the greatest benefits from a new era of agricultural policy then I believe the estate is well placed. Because of that I think this programme has come at the right time for our business.
“I want to develop professionally and do as much with technology and knowledge in house, rather than relying on outside experts. This will be equally important in the production of crops as it will in how we manage and monitor our natural capital. Last year I spent a lot of time trying to better understand how we can affect our carbon footprint and I hope this programme will help us to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.
“I want to continue to use our platform to engage with the public and promote all the good things we are doing as an industry. As our sector evolves in the next few years, we will need to adapt to a new mindset of managing land and I want to be in the best position to offer solutions to the challenges that are coming.”
BLOG: 'A Resilient and Ready future for the Yattendon Estate: Nick Down'