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Dorset Council’s county farms estate will be in the spotlight on BBC1’s Countryfile on Sunday, 15 December.

The council has worked alongside the BBC to create the piece, which highlights how its 6000-acre farm estate contributes to the local economy and offers genuine work opportunities for budding farmers and agricultural apprentices

The county farms estates model was created after the first world war to enable injured men returning home to have a vocation and some land with which they could support themselves and the communities that they lived in.

Today, Dorset’s county farms estate covers more than 6000 acres, its 41 farms support 260 jobs and contributes £4.6m to the Dorset economy.

Cllr Pauline Batstone, who features in the short film, was born and brought up on a farm in Dorset. She is now the Chairman of the council and of the County Farms Liaison Panel, a group of officers, councillors, tenant farmers and national farming agencies who meet to discuss emerging estate issues and to select new tenants

Cllr Batstone said: “We have an ambition in Dorset to make our county farms estate really work for Dorset. We want the estate to contribute to both children’s and adult’s social care by offering employment and training opportunities to vulnerable people. By attracting apprentices, budding young farmers and their families to build a business in Dorset we can help keep communities alive which helps drive the wheels of our economy.

“We are very proud of our farms and they will only thrive with good management of our assets. This includes on-going investment in maintenance and upgrading of buildings and landholdings.”

Countryfile is on BBC1, Sunday 15 December at 6pm.

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