Jon and Lynne Perkin to manage Sharpham herd
The Jersey cows behind the award-winning Sharpham cheese are to be relocated to the Dartington estate, in a new agreement between Sharpham Partnership and Old Parsonage Farm.
The agreement between Mark Sharman, managing director of Sharpham Partnership, and Dartington tenant farmers Jon and Lynne Perkin, will see the herd of milking cows owned by Sharpham move to Old Parsonage Farm in the next six weeks, where they will be milked in more modern facilities currently being fitted by the Perkins. They will form part of an overall herd of around 100, including young stock and offspring, arriving on the estate.
Says Sharpham Partnership managing director Mark Sharman:
“Our own milking plant and cattle housing were installed in 1962, and it’s fair to say it has come to the end of its working life. What’s really good about this partnership is that Jon’s farming philosophy is remarkably close to our own. He farms to organic principles and uses modern cropping rotations rather than artificial inputs to produce as much quality food on farm as possible.”
Says Jon Perkin from Old Parsonage Farm:
“This is a really exciting partnership with benefits for us both. It enables me to take on cattle with an established and reliable route to market without the upfront cost. And Mark knows I’ll be managing his herd with a high level of stewardship – just as he would – in order to maintain the exceptional quality of the cheese his dairy is renowned for.”
The milk will be collected from Old Parsonage Farm daily and taken to the existing cheese dairy at Sharpham Home Farm for the Sharpham team to turn it into their award-winning cheese using traditional techniques. The milk will be used in their Sharpham Soft (brie style), Sharpham Rustic and Sharpham Elmhirst.
Under the agreement, Jon Perkin will initially use the existing herd manager’s professional services, as well as the existing vet and animal nutritionist. The pure Jersey herd will remain ‘closed’, which means breeding will remain within the herd, to preserve its very high health status. Ownership of the cattle remains with Sharpham Partnership.
The partnership is in line with The Dartington Hall Trust’s strong commitment to forging and supporting partnerships with and between like-minded organisations.