Inspiring visit to Northamptonshire mixed farm for global sustainable agriculture students

Inspiring visit to Northamptonshire mixed farm for global sustainable agriculture students

Seven students from developing countries spent the day at the Newbottle Estate, Northamptonshire, as part of their 10-week short course in sustainable agriculture at Harper Adams University, funded by agricultural development charity, the Marshal Papworth Fund.

The visit to Alice Townsend’s mixed farm included the opportunity to further explore beef and crop production, harnessing Alice’s experience of farming both in Northamptonshire and in Ghana, and how farming in the UK and Africa has its similarities and differences.

With 1,500 acres incorporating 900 acres for arable crops, 500 acres of grass and 100 acres of woodland, Alice, who is also a member of the Marshal Papworth Fund committee, helped the seven students from Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to critically compare cattle production activities at Harper Adams University with those practiced at Newbottle to cement their understanding.

Tom Arthey, chairman of the Marshal Papworth Fund, which is managed by the East of England Agricultural Society, said: “Farm visits like this one today are such an important part of our specially designed course. We are very lucky that our agricultural development students benefit from the best teaching and practical experiences at Harper Adams University, visiting working farms and critiquing that theory with what farmers actually do on the ground really helps further the learning experience, and ultimately ensure that when our students return home, they are able to hit the ground running with rolling out their new knowledge in their communities.”

Tom continued: “We are very lucky to have Alice as part of the Marshal Papworth Fund committee as she knows the challenges of farming in Africa in real terms, and how what she does on her farm in Northamptonshire can actually be transferred to practices in developing countries.”

Students also visited a neighbouring beekeeper Tony Manton, and a local dairy farm – Farthinghoe Lodge Farm, .

Robert Tumyagewor Atawura, a project officer working with Tree Aid, a charity partner of the Marshal Papworth Fund in Ghana, said: We all acquired lots of experience from the visit and we travelled back to the University with a high zeal to replicate the same skills in our various countries.”

Robert continued: “For me, Alice is such an inspiring farmer, and I am really motivated by her marvellous works, not only in crops and beef production but also in forestry, investment in agricultural structures and drying requirements for her crops. Thank you so much Alice for having us.”

To find out more about supporting the Marshal Papworth Fund, please contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 961024 or email for more information. If you’ve enjoyed learning about us and would simply like to make a donation please visit

Photo: High resolution image available upon request.

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Inspiring visit to Northamptonshire mixed farm for global sustainable agriculture students

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