Farm trust celebrating £1m grants milestone

Arable farmer Stephen Cobbald at Acton Hall

Arable farmer Stephen Cobbald at Acton Hall - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk farming trust awarded more than £100,000 worth of grants in April this year, bringing the total it has given away since 2007 to more than £1million.

Trustees of the Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust use the income from two farms totalling 780 acres and various other properties, as well as £1.6m invested in the stock market, to make the grant awards.

As a result, they have awarded a total of £1,039,745 towards agricultural development in East Anglia.

Chairman Stephen Cobbald said: “This marks a major milestone in the trust’s remarkable history since it was founded by a bequest from Felix Thornley Cobbold in 1910.

“For over 100 years the trust has used its resources for the benefit of farming in Suffolk and the adjoining counties.

“It has been fortunate in being served by a succession of outstanding trustees, who have been diligent in ensuring that available resources have been conserved and wisely used.

“I am sure that Felix would be proud of what his generous bequest has achieved.”

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At their latest quarterly meeting, held on April 28, trustees awarded a total of £131,635 to three research projects and an education grant, the largest aggregate sum allocated at a single meeting.

The research grants went to Harper Adams University, NIAB/TAG and Cranfield University and the University of Hertfordshire, while the educational grant will help support a graduate student at the Royal Agricultural University.

Scientist trustee Dr Eric Ober said: “These grants represent a major investment in high quality research, which will also attract three young scientists to work in agricultural development.

“This represents a major investment in farming’s future.”

Other causes supported by the trust include conservation and veterinary training, work on potato cyst nematode resistance, educating children in how food is produced and new training films for telling the food production story.