The County Farms Estate is vital in providing the first step on the farming ladder. Find out how they are funded, and aims.

It comprises of 41 farms and is spread over 2,600 hectares throughout Dorset. The first farm was acquired in 1911 in the parish of Marnhull.

The estate is managed by Coast and Countryside, who provide advice on agricultural and estate management issues to local councils. 

The aims of the Estate, as set out in the County Farm Estate Management Plan 2016 to 2021 are to:

  • provide a gateway into agriculture for persons to farm on their own account whilst ensuring a financial return to us
  • provide us with a direct interest in the land management of the county, promoting the integration of good environmental and farming practices as well as best practice and innovation in estate management and agriculture
  • sustain rural communities whilst providing opportunities for greater public access and understanding of agriculture and the countryside

The estate is run on a two tier system, with smaller 'starter' units providing a point of entry into the agricultural industry and larger 'promotion' units to allow for career progression.  Farms on the estate are predominantly livestock based, with both dairy and stock farms.

Over the last decade the County Farm Estate Property Review has been successful in funding the modernisation of the estate and contributing to the county council's wider corporate capital programme through the sale and amalgamation of estate properties. The estate is run for the tax payer on a commercial basis, with all of the profit being ploughed back into the council.