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Longley Farm visit newly donated Jersey cows

A group of students sit on haybales in a farm building, alongside two farmers, one of which is petting a young cow. Longley Farm's Jimmy Dickinson and Paul Robson with Agriculture students at Wigfield Farm.

Longley Farm's Jimmy Dickinson and Paul Robson with Agriculture students at Wigfield Farm.

We welcomed the head of Longley Farm to meet two Jersey cows that were donated by the world-renowned dairy firm – and have already won the hearts of visitors and students.

The pair of calves were born on 9th and 10th January 2024, and arrived at their new home of Wigfield Farm later that month. After a successful settling-in period, they have been introduced to Agriculture students keen to learn more about working with dairy cows.

Owner of Longley Farm, Jimmy Dickinson, and Paul Robson, manager of Tyers Hall Farm – which is based in Ardsley, Barnsley and operated by Longley Farm – were able to check on the progress of the calves and chatted to students.

Paul said the donation came about following conversations with the farm on how best to ‘bridge the gap’ between college and employment on a large-scale dairy farm.

“The original idea was just to lend them for a while, thinking the smaller cows would be ideal for the public to come and see, as well as for the students working with them,” added Paul.

“Then we started talking about them keeping the pair, so I asked Jimmy if we could donate them as it would be a good thing for us to get out into the community.

“We want to encourage people to come into farming – which is a good industry, if you’re the right sort of person. There’s a real gap between education and the reality of working on a farm. By doing this, we’re hoping to bridge the gap in a way.

“It’s good to talk to young people who are interested and come forward and say to us, ‘I want to be a farmer’.”

Since its formation by Joseph and Edgar Dickinson in 1948, with just 30 acres and ten cows on land in Holmfirth, Longley Farm now has 120 staff and is a multinational organisation. In 1973, the Dickinson brothers took over Tyers Hall Farm, now a dairy and arable unit. The firm’s growing Jersey herd currently numbers around 300, of which 150 are cows in milk.

Two young Jersey cow calves.

The two Jersey Cows donated by Tyers Hall Farm.

Jimmy Dickinson, whose father and uncle co-founded Longley Farm, added: “The courses on offer at Wigfield Farm are filling a huge gap. There are fewer and fewer people being born onto farms and as a result, fewer young people know anything about farming. So it’s a question of bringing new people into it and introducing them into the industry.

“Education and local industries, such as farming, pulling together has a huge part to play in building the country back up to where it needs to be. These two calves are a good step for us to engage with the local community and the College – something we enjoy doing.”

Liz Squires, Programme Manager at Wigfield Farm, added: “It was great to welcome Jimmy and Paul from Longley Farm to see how well the calves have settled into their new home.

“Paul also spoke to our students about his vast experience working on a dairy farm, which was a great insight into the industry and I could see they really engaged with him. We’re hoping to work closely with Tyers Hall Farm to develop that link further, to show our students a clear pathway into what the farming industry is really like.”

If you’re interested in Animal Care and Agriculture courses, visit our website. Alternatively, you can call the Info Unit on 01226 216 123 or email info@barnsley.ac.uk for further details.

Last updated: 23rd February 2024

Originally posted on: 23rd February 2024

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