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Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker

TV presenter Matt Baker during the filming of Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker
TV presenter Matt Baker during the filming of Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker | © Mark Taylor/Channel 4

We've been searching for a tenant farmer to manage a vacant farm in Northumberland. You can follow along by tuning in to Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker – a new TV series on Channel 4.

What's the series about?

The eight-part series, produced by Big Circus Media and hosted by TV presenter Matt Baker, features seven shortlisted applicants applying for a 10-year farm tenancy on the Wallington Estate.

The show sheds light on the process of applying for a farm tenancy, with applicants presenting business plans and discussing their vision for the farm. They also experience life on the Wallington Estate by taking part in real-life farming tasks and experiences.

Sally Richards, General Manager at Wallington and Giles Hunt, Land and Estates Director at the National Trust then consider how well each applicant would achieve the farm's objectives and deliver their vision for the land.

'What I really wanted from the applicants was passion,' explained Sally. 'I wanted to see passion for this farm on this historic estate and enthusiasm for being part of the local community, which is so important to us here.'

Without question, the potential tenants and the vision they all had are the heartbeat of the programme. I loved day one, when everybody met each other for the first time.

A quote by Matt Baker Presenter and Executive Producer of Big Circus Media

Shining a light on tenant farming

Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker provides us with an exciting opportunity to raise awareness of tenant farming and the role it plays in managing the countryside and addressing the nature crisis.

Giles said, 'The series offered a chance to bring farming, specifically, tenant farming, to life for a wide audience, and to give the public an up-close look at the letting of a farm on one of our historic estates.

'There’s a common perception of what a farmer is, but few people really know what a tenant farmer is. They face very different challenges, and we wanted to showcase that part of the industry – and that part of the countryside – which isn’t so well understood. Much of what you see in the series is a real reflection of how we let our farms, even though the process was supersized for the TV series.'

Check back here for more information on Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker as each episode airs.

Episode seven

In the penultimate episode of the series, the three finalists get the chance to explore the Wallington Estate and meet other farm tenants who could become their neighbours. They get to work on three different farms, carrying out a variety of tasks from packing eggs to planting vegetables. This is followed by a stint with some National Trust rangers, who are extending a footpath through the fields and past the beaver enclosure to increase public access to the estate. Later they meet a special tenant farming mentor, who helps to prepare them for their final meeting with Giles and Sally. After weeks of not seeing their families, the applicants are reunited with parents, partners, and dogs. This episode will air at the earlier time of 6.30pm on Saturday 18 May.

Episode six

The four remaining applicants take on the challenge of creating a rotational grazing system. This involves dividing a field into eight paddocks with fences before moving a flock of sheep in to graze. Sally and Giles consider how each applicant plans to graze and manage livestock in a way that supports nature. Meanwhile, the lambing continues and a herd of cattle need to be moved. At the end of what is a very busy time on the farm, Sally and Giles decide on the final three applicants.

Episode five

It’s the second stage of the selection process and only five applicants remain at the farm. Lambing is well underway, and their first job is to put some of the strongest lambs and mothers out to fresh pasture. The applicants also purchase cattle at a livestock auction in Hexham for a buyer that can’t be there. When the applicants are back at the farm, they work with National Trust rangers to create new wildlife habitats by planting hedgerows and restoring areas of wetland. It’s then time to pitch their business plans to Sally and Giles.

Episode four

Six applicants now remain at the farm. They are split up into three teams to host a visit for school children. Each team must organise a one-hour visit that teaches the children about farming, conservation, and food production. This task is designed to show how well each applicant engages with the local community. Two of the applicants are then chosen to pitch their business plan to Sally and Giles, and afterwards one leaves the process.

Episode three

As the applicants come to the end of their first week on the farm, Giles and Sally prepare to host the first round of business meetings. Two applicants will be chosen to present their vision for the farm and, afterwards, someone leaves the process. Before making this difficult decision, Giles and Sally observe all seven applicants take part in a task designed to test their business skills at Hexham Farmers’ Market.

Episode two

Angus and Emily are the first applicants to spend a night in the farmhouse with the responsibility of looking after the animals. When the outside water pipes freeze they have to fill buckets of water from the house for the livestock to drink. The applicants also take on the challenge of preparing for the arrival of beavers into a 60-acre enclosure on the estate. They also welcome some Tamworth pigs to the farm.

Episode one

Matt meets seven applicants all hoping to be chosen as the farm's next tenant. It's lambing season – one of the busiest times of year. A neighbouring farmer has brought 60 of his ewes to the farm and the applicants have to prepare the lambing shed so that the pregnant ewes can be brought in from the field to lamb. The applicants also have to create a penning system for the lambs to be born in.

The farm on the Wallington Estate that features in the series Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker
The farm on the Wallington Estate that features in the series Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker | © Mark Taylor/Channel 4
TV production staff during the filming of Matt Baker's Our Dream Farm TV series on the Wallington Estate, Northumberland

Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker

Find out more about the series and watch all the episodes soon on Channel 4.

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