Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit farm in County Durham

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited farmers Clare Wise and Stewart Chapman on their family farm, where they had the opportunity to hear first-hand how British farmers are delivering for the nation and the environment.

Clare and Stewart took Their Royal Highnesses on a tour of their mixed cattle, sheep and arable farm near Darlington. They showed them how they protect the health and welfare of their livestock and how they use techniques such as grass monitoring and feed sampling to increase sustainability.

The fifth-generation family farm has a high-quality sheep enterprise and a herd of 60 continental suckler cows, both supplying Morrisons. The arable rotation includes wheat, barley, beans and grassland. The family has also modernised the farm over the past 10 years, investing heavily in new buildings and technology.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Clare said:

“We were absolutely delighted to host The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today. We’re thrilled that they wanted to shine a light on the importance of a mixed farming system and a family farm, as we believe we’re the backbone of the industry. We showed them how we’re using affordable technology on farm to push our business forward, to hopefully be able to meet our net zero goals and have a really bright and optimistic future.”

The visit concluded with a discussion with other local farmers, including NFU North East regional board chair Rachel Hallos and NFU environment forum chair Richard Bramley. The group shared with Their Royal Highnesses how farmers are delivering for the environment and the work they are carrying out to help support the UK’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions. They also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on farming, including on mental health.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

NFU North East regional director Adam Bedford, who also joined the discussion, said:

“It was an incredibly proud day for the region’s farmers, who were given a wonderful opportunity to sit down with Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and talk openly about their farming passions – everything from sheep welfare to soil improvement – and how they have coped over the past year.
“I would like to thank Clare and Stewart for their wonderful welcome. They really did us all proud and their family farm provided the perfect backdrop for a truly memorable day.
“I know we were all delighted to experience the genuine interest showed by The Duke and Duchess about the farm, the challenges of the pandemic and the contribution that farming can make to the nation. British farmers not only provide a fantastic menu of delicious, nutritious, sustainable food, but also a superb farmed environment that has contributed so much to people’s mental health and welfare over the past year.”