CATTLE have arrived at Stirley Community Farm, the attempt to turn an abandoned farm under the Castle Hill monument, on the edge of Huddersfield, into a centre of education and food production for the neighbourhood.
The introduction of the first of the Beef Shorthorns is a significant milestone because it is hoped that beef sales to the local community will be the foundation of the farm’s own income stream, to help eke out the grants which got it going again after years of dereliction. With farming subsidies and stewardship payments on top of the meat sales, it is hoped income will eventually be around £120,000, to set against running costs of £150,000.
Ian Smart, who runs the 240-acre farm for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is inviting interested neighbours to a meeting on Monday, at the Scout Hall in Newsome, from 6pm, where he will answer questions about the farm and its new animals.
The Shorthorns are hardy animals which will graze in the fields for some time yet, before moving into barn accommodation for the winter.
Public footpaths running through the site will remain open but walkers will be asked to be sure to shut gates and keep dogs under control.
The farm is expected to become a centre for lessons in growing vegetables and some of it may be turned into allotments in the long run.
Although it is situated where Huddersfield peters out into Pennine country, locals complain that gardens are small and growing space is hard to come by.
Social and education and health services are expected to want to organise work experience at the farm and some paid work and formal training will be offered as funds permit.