26 July 2012
Helping wildlife while continuing to make a profit is one of the cornerstones of our work at Hope Farm. Being contract-farmed means we pay realistic commercial rates for all our on-farm work.
In 2000, when we first took over the farm, we had a one-year agreement with CWS (the farming arm of the Co-op) to undertake the farming operations. When this agreement ended, we entered into a contract agreement with a neighbouring farmer (our 'contractor') who manages c.2,500 ha, to provide this service.
Under our current contract agreement, the income from the farm is divided between us. We receive a set-payment as the landowner ('fixed return'). This and the cost of producing the crops - for example the seed, sprays and operations - is deducted from the total income from cropping (the sales of the crops, farm subsidy payments and lost income from undertaking our trials work).
This leaves the 'divisible surplus'. This figure is then split between RSPB ('the landowner') and our contractor on a 23 per cent:77 basis. Our contractor, who bears the cost of owning and maintaining the farm machinery, receives the greater proportion. The graph below shows the annual income at the farm over the last 10 years of RSPB ownership.
The accounts for each year, 2002-2011, are available from this page.
How you can help
At Hope Farm, we're developing farming techniques that will benefit wildlife.