Keith Preston, Savills Agribusiness consultant, chosen as an expert advisor to National Trust online farming experiment

23 June 2011

MyFarm is a massive online experiment in farming and food production which has been set up by the National Trust. Launched on 4th May 2011 the aim of the project is to reconnect people and food, and boost the public’s understanding of the realities of food and farming.

The National Trust is looking for 10,000 MyFarm farmers in the first year of the project to help manage their organic farm at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire; giving the public a say in the running of a real working farm. The whole estate is 2500 acres; a mix of arable land, pasture, woodland, lakes and gardens.  The arable farmland is coming to the end of organic conversion, and will start producing crops over the coming winter.

The MyFarm Farmers, of which there are already nearly 2000 signed up, will join forces on  to discuss, make decisions and ultimately vote on every aspect of the farm: key votes will be held on a monthly basis to decide on the crops grown, the breeds of animal stocked, the new facilities invested in and the machinery used. The aim of the farm is to be profitable, and to maintain the highest standards of sustainability and welfare.

Keith Preston, Agribusiness consultant in Savills Oxford office, is one of the chosen experts on the advisory panel for MyFarm. Keith spent 18 years in practical farm management before embarking on a career in farm consultancy and advice with Smith-Woolley, prior to joining Savills. His practical farm management background is invaluable in advising clients on management systems and structure for their businesses.  Keith has been involved in organic farming since 1987 and currently has a number of high profile organic clients.

Keith’s role as an expert panel member is to support the farm in getting the agricultural and land management content right. Other experts on the panel are Meurig Raymond (NFU), Helen Browning (Soil Association), Gareth Morgan (RSPB), and Caroline Drummond (LEAF).

For each decision, the Farmers will have two to three weeks to debate the issue, feed in information and ask questions of Richard Morris, the Farm Manager and his team.  The first vote, to decide what crop should be grown in one of the fields, closed on 1st June. It was decided that wheat should be grown. The next vote is to decide which sheep to breed to expand the Wimpole flock.

Keith comments; “The MyFarm Project provides the opportunity for consumers to experience the challenges and rewards of working with nature and farming systems to produce foods in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.  It is an exciting project, providing an opportunity for members of the public to engage with the intricacies of farming systems and increase their understanding of food production systems and I am looking forward to working with the project team.”

For further information, please contact:
Keith Preston, Savills Agribusiness, +44 (0) 1865 269 170,
Davina Bell, Savills Rural PR Manager, +44 (0) 7807 999 244,


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