Harper Adams University has purchased 239 acres (97 hectares) of farmland adjacent to its home farm just outside Newport, Shropshire, taking its total land holding to more than 1,500 acres (607ha).
A University spokesman said the acquisition is part of a long-term strategy to enable Harper Adams to develop its education and applied research activities, which have grown substantially in recent years.
The University is one of a small number in the UK able to accommodate a wide variety of farm enterprises, ranging from dairy and poultry production to arable and horticultural research, to support a national and international intake of agri-food undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“The availability of the land immediately adjacent to the University’s current estate provided the opportunity to extend the use of our ‘outdoor laboratory’ while continuing to provide a real world farming environment in support of our academic work,” said the spokesman.
Commenting on the purchase, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, added: “We had a rare opportunity to buy a substantial block of land immediately adjacent to the University’s estate and this matched, ideally, the strategy we had established for the development of our farm operations.
“The University has to think long-term, and with confidence, about its role in supporting the UK agri-food system, and supplying the high quality graduate workforce we will need in the period following our departure from the EU. We are therefore delighted to have completed this purchase, which will help secure our ability to continue to provide the best possible environment for our research, and for our students, in the years to come.”
Scott Kirby, the Harper Adams Farm Manager commented: “The purchase of such a significant block of land by Harper Adams not only represents a strategic move to secure one of the University’s most important resources, but is also a clear demonstration that Harper Adams is committed to the future of its own farm enterprises and the industry as a whole.”
Headline image shows: The new land (highlighted) close to the main Harper Adams campus (top left)