Richard Pennock (97-02), deputy manager at Sir Ken Morrison’s Myton Hall Farms estate in Boroughbridge, is planning an international trip to learn how farming operations abroad can offer lessons to the beef industry in Yorkshire and the UK. He is among the lucky few to successfully apply for a Nuffield scholarship, awarded annually to a driven individual by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS). Scholarships provide the opportunity to travel for at least eight weeks over an 18-month period to study a subject related to the chosen individual’s working life.
Richard is part of a five-man team at Myton Hall Farms, where continental cross bred cattle are bought in at 15 to 18 months and fattened and finished in around 120 days on a maize silage and cereal-based diet for the UK beef market. Set within 1100 acres of arable land, Sir Ken’s enterprise also consists of a flock of 300 Texel cross and mule ewes.
Richard was officially awarded his scholarship at the annual Nuffield Conference in November 2013 and his studies officially begin in January 2014. His plans include visits to major beef producing countries in North and South America, Australia and a peek at some of the top-performing British beef farms.
Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the YAS, said: “Richard is exactly the type of person who will benefit from a Nuffield scholarship. He’s passionate about the industry and beef production and is art the stage in his career where increased knowledge of the various systems will assist his own farming practice and will be of great interest to other beef producers.”
Richard said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experiences. I am particularly interested in pioneering the concept of large scale commercial farming in which production is consumer-driven. I believe that small-scale farms selling products at farm shops and markets are in touch with consumer requirements, but this is often lost on larger farms which don’t often have the same consumer contact.”
The scholarship is something that Richard had been intending to apply for for a number of years. “It’s been a case of fitting it in with my job because it’s a big thing and I just felt I’d got to that point in my career where I really wanted to do it, and I think it can be of real benefit to me and to the business. The project is all about looking at improving efficiency of the beef industry from beginning to the end of it. I’ll be looking at different management procedures and the way in which businesses are structured.”
Richard grew up in Burniston between Scarborough and Whitby and studied a degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University following his time at Pocklington School. While working as an agronomist for Cropwise, the opportunity to join Sir Ken’s operation arose and proved too good to pass up, and he now lives on the Myton Hall estate.