For eleven years The Farmer Network has supported young people, enabling them to explore a farming related business idea through our Young Farming Ambition Programme. Despite the many constraints that often prevent young people from getting a foot on the business ladder, the Network has supported more than 150 of them through the years. Many have gone on to achieve a dream by creating their own business.

Holly Potter is one such example. She started the Young Farming Ambition Programme in November 2020 when all the sessions had to be delivered on Zoom due to Covid restrictions. She found the business sessions and 1 to 1 advice provided valuable support and inspiration. A grant enabled her to afford the cost of training in the safe use of pesticides and to develop educational resources to host school children on the farm.

Just before starting the programme, she had secured a tenancy on the Lowther Lonsdale Estate near Penrith as a ‘starter farm’ and with the help of her parents, she now farms 140 acres with 450 sheep and rears 80 Wagyu cattle on contract.

Holly is keen to encourage other young people to take part in the programme. She says, “It will open your eyes to new ideas and ways to make your business more profitable, helping to build your confidence and achieve your goals.”

Completing the course on-line meant that Farming Ambition participants were unable to meet, so recently Holly held her own farm walk for them, in order to share ideas and experience.

The next phase of the Farming Ambition will start this November and the Farmer Network is now recruiting young people. The programme includes an introduction to basic business planning, one to one support and the opportunity to apply for a small business or training grant.

Programme leader Kate Gascoyne is urging young people aged 18 to 30 years old, looking to start or develop a farming related business in Cumbria or the Yorkshire Dales to get in touch.

An online webinar to introduce the programme to young farmers will take place on Wednesday 28th September from 7pm. Speakers from Oxbury Bank will also be on hand to talk about their new loan scheme being launched on 22nd September to help new entrants into farming.

To find out more, or register for the webinar, please contact or call 01768 868615

Details of the scheme and how past applicants have benefitted can be found at

Editors Notes:

· The Farmer Network Ltd is an independent, non-profit, farmer-led organisation that provides help and support to farmers and their businesses in Cumbria and the Yorkshire dales, whatever the challenge or opportunity. For more information about the Network, contact Adam Day, Managing Director on 01768 868615 or