We are a family farm with Simon and Claire Bainbridge, our two children Abigail and George and Simons parents, Ivan and Elisabeth. We farm 1,650 acres of the Northumberland uplands organically. With 160 Suckler Cows, 1,500 breeding ewes and 12,000 free range layers we are kept pretty busy. We produce all the feed for the sheep and cattle on the holding and produce all our own replacements for the breeding stock on the farm.
Simon farms with a real passion. He is striving to get the best from the land he has available. Sustainable productivity organically is a goal. With 160 suckler cows, 1,500 breeding ewes and now the 12,000 organic layers he is constantly seeking ways in which to push the business whist preserving the environment he farms within. Simon took on the tenancy of 890 ac from his father in 2000 aged 27 and since then has expanded the business to 1,650 acres taking on more tenanted land and purchasing 705 acres. The farm went into organic conversion in 2009 and since then Simon has strived to produce high quality home grown forage protein to produce a high quality grass fed premium product.
Simon studied an HND in agriculture at Harper Adams Agricultural College, was the Monitor Farm for Northumberland 2010 – 2013. He is the Vice Chairman for the North East Livestock Board for the NFU, sits on the National Livestock Board as well as past Chairman of the Morpeth branch and member of the Organic forum for the NFU. He has won the Hampshire Down Commercial Flock of the year 2012, Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year Finalist 2014, Highly Commended for Waitrose Farming Partnership Futureproofing Award 2014 and Reserve Champion for Hereford Suckler Herd of the Year 2015. He was one of the Waitrose Farming Partnership Commercial Development Farms on the Sustainable Forage Protein Project and has completed the 21st Challenge of Rural Leadership with the Worshipful Company of Farmers.
Claire was brought up on arable farms in East Anglia and is now fully adjusted to life on a livestock farm in the Northumberland uplands. She moved to Donkin Rigg in 2006 and has worked alongside Simon and supported him with the growth of the business. She predominantly handles most aspects of the administrative side of the business and now manages the 12,000 organic free range layers. She also looks after their two children Abigail and George. Claire has an Honours degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management from Harper Adams. She is a qualified Chartered Surveyor, Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (FAAV).
Abigail loves living on the farm and really enjoys seeing all the animals and spending time out and about with her Daddy. Abigail goes to the local school in Cambo.
George is the youngest member of the Bainbridge Farms business. Born in 2012, George has been brought up on a diet of livestock and tractors.
Ivan has been farming since the day he was born. With an eye for sheep he has always been keen to keep the traditional methods going alongside the more modern approach. He is still fully involved with the day to day practical aspects of the farm and continues to take stock to Acklington Mart every week.
Elisabeth has been involved in education throughout her professional career, not only as a head teacher in the past but even now continues to train and assess schools in their Basic Skills Quality Mark. She is actively involved in the local community through the parish council, village hall and church. Elisabeth also supports the family and often looks after her grandchildren.
Jack has worked as a shepherd all his life. He retired in 2014 at 65 years of age, but continues to work just as hard on a number of other farms in the area and is always available to come back and help us at busy times of the year.