Diversification is key to survival down on the farm

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MODERN-DAY farming can be a tough business to turn a profit in – but one family is doing its best to diversify while keeping its traditional value.

The Passmore family, ever-present at Church Farm, in Coombes, since 1901, have been nominated in the hospitality, tourism and leisure category in this year’s business awards.

Jenny Passmore said: “Over the years, farming has got harder to earn a profit so the diversification is very important for uss.

“But our main aim is to keep farming, and whatever we do does not hinder the farm.

“As a family we have been here for over 100 years and hope to be here for another 100 years.

“We believe as farmers we are custodians of the countryside, to be able to farm and help others enjoy the countryside, too.”

The farm was one of the first in the country to open its doors to the public in 1979, allowing public access to its lambing yard shortly afterwards.

This year was a strong one for the farm, too, with over 20,000 flocking to see its lambs being born.

Aside from the farm tours, it now offers weddings, fishing and various other events.

Jenny said: “This has been the best year for many years and we have been fully booked at weekends with our weddings and events.

“More importantly, we had the best year ever for people coming to see our lambing and calving.

“The weather was fantastic and we were doing eight tractor rides a day, doubling our visitor numbers.”

The farm is run by the family and two full-time workers, while an average of 19 students join them during lambing season, learning about farming and tourism.

“We have many vet students learning lambing,” explained Jenny.

“Some stay on the farm to work with the sheep and also talk to the public. The other students are learning the tourism side.”

To find out more about the farm and the history of the five generations of Passmores who have farmed there, visit www.coombes.co.uk