We’re delighted that Bertie Newman, Sparsholt agriculture alumni, has been nominated in the annual Farmer’s Weekly awards as a finalist for the 2020 Young Farmer of the Year.

Managing his agricultural business which spreads across 607ha of land in Dorchester, Bertie has been nominated by Farmer’s Weekly for his passion for livestock, agriculture, and building a prosperous and sustainable future for his business.

After completing an Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Sparsholt College in 2013, Bertie went on to work on a range of farms in New Zealand and Australia for six months. Upon returning home to the 28ha family farm in 2014, he set up his own suckler herd of 35 cows at the age of 19.

After taking over the family’s 607ha business in 2018, Bertie has made significant changes to improve animal welfare, efficiency, and profit – solidifying his role as sole manager of the business.

By replacing purebred Angus with dairy cross Angus and moving away from year-round calving to blocks in the spring and autumn, Bertie has improved the early-life nutrition of his livestock. He is also working to reduce the ewe overheads, by making lambing more flexible and profitable.

The recent introduction of contracting and dairy origin beef in his business has also showcased his keen business skills, making use of available resources and improving cashflow.

The judging panel have praised the young farmer’s work, saying “Bertie has taken on a lot of responsibility, and understands his business to the last detail. Alongside this, he is involved in the local community and keen on engaging with the public.”

The future of the business is bright, as Bertie continues to push for profits and innovates with new plans and ideas. Over the next five years, he is aiming to sell up to 500 from 1000 cattle and 1200 lambs a year, with more detailed recording of data, alongside working with precision livestock trading and analytics tool Breedr to optimise the system.

He is also hoping to continue lobbying for a more sustainable industry in farming, promoting organic grass-fed beef and reducing his own business’s carbon footprint while maintaining productivity.

Abby Parsons, Curriculum Leader for Agriculture at Sparsholt College, remembers Bertie well from his time at the college. She says “I am not surprised Bertie has been nominated. He was one of our top students, and a pleasure to teach with a real passion for the industry. The Level 3 course at Sparsholt provides expert training and teaching to those from an agricultural background like Bertie but also a strong foundation for those new into the industry.”

Up against two competitors, the award winner will be announced at the Farmer’s Weekly 2020 awards will take place on 17th March 2021. Find out more here.

Sparsholt College has been a leading educator in Agriculture for over 100 years, and has unrivalled reputation in the industry. You can find out more about our wide range of Agriculture courses here, and our brand new Agriculture degree offer at our University Centre Sparsholt here.