[T]HE National Trust has appointed its first farming adviser dedicated to building on and improving its positive relationships with its 91 tenants in the Lake District.
Will Cleasby, who has spent the last 13 years at the Eden River Trust, is also an active partner in his family’s 150 acre farm near Temple Sowerby. The Appleby Grammar School pupil has an HND (Merit) in Agriculture from Bishop Burton College, East Yorkshire.
Will says he is pleased to be joining the Trust at a time when it wants to bring people together to address many of the challenges facing the farming community.
The Trust’s Farming Adviser Project Manager said: “Much of the land in our care in the Lake District is managed by our farm tenants. In order to deliver our strategy we need to develop highly functioning, mutually respectful relationships with them.
“There is already much that we can be proud of in the way that we work with our tenants. There is also much more to do around developing shared objectives for the land, and ensuring that our tenants understand our ambitions and that we understand our tenants’ aspirations and businesses.
“I will be working with them to understand their needs, expectations and frustrations. They run a huge and varied set of farming businesses, in very diverse situations, and in many cases they have been our tenants for several generations.
“Alongside this I will be helping to build on the relationships we have with public and private sector farming interests across the county. It is also our ambition to set up a Farm Advisory Panel to support us at a strategic level as critical friends.
“Ultimately we all need to work together better to tackle the many issues we face” added Will Cleasby.
Will joins the Trust’s two food and farming experts, Neil Johnson and Julian Carlisle. His role will also see him working closely with the Trust’s estate team and rangers and the Lake District National Park Authority’s farming officer.
Outside of his new job, Will Cleasby plays an active role in the day to day running of his family’s farm which is home to the Cleaden herds of pedigree Charolais and Limousin Cattle.