A successful livestock business at Quarry Farm, near Whitby in the heart of the North York Moors National Park is run by Richard and his family. The farm comprises of over 145 acres and tenants on 165 acres with 636 moor rights on Westerdale Common (1200 acres).
The family rear a herd of 100 continental cross suckler cows, a hill flock of Swaledale sheep, a pedigree flock of Beltex sheep, and some crossbred ewes. In 2006, Richard and his family inherited 5 hives, this led to diversification of the farming business and beeswax and honey products are now also produced, under the brand name Westerdale Apiaries.
A Founder Member of the Seven Hills Farmer Co-operative, established after the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2001, and first made possible through support from the Prince of Wales ‘Seeing is Believing’ initiative and a visit from Business in the Community.
The origin of the deal was a visit to farms in the North York Moors, to explore ways in which businesses could help hard-pressed hill farmers within the National Park. Following the success of the visit, the Prince of Wales committed £39,000 over a two year period to the Yorkshire Moors Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme that aims to ensure that these farming skills do not die out, by offering apprenticeships to young people aspiring to be upland hill farmers or work on upland farms.
The Co-operative supplies high quality lamb that is specifically produced in the North York Moors National Park. Partners include, St Agnes Farm, Hawnby; Breck House Farm, Bransdale; Quarry Farm, Westerdale; Grange Head Farm, Egton Bridge; Briscoe Farm, Hutton Mulgrave; Hollybush Farm, Littlebeck; and Intake Farm, Littlebeck. In 2008 the Co-operative successfully secured a contract selling prime lamb to Asda throughout the country, distributed in packs branded ‘From the North York Moors National Park’.
Committed to working for the farming industry and its success in the Uplands. He is a Committee Member for the National Farmers Union (NFU) Livestock Board.
Richard believes three things are fundamental for success – diversification, good business – business partnerships and a fundamental commitment to ensuring food production is environmentally sustainable.