Cornish farmer Ashley Jones is one of the latest to join the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Monitor Farm programme.

The idea is that local farmers gather at a host farm to share ideas, learn from each other and experts, and discuss the hot topics of the day.

Ashley from Smeaton Farm in Saltash said: “I wanted to become a Monitor Farm host because I’ve found the experience at other Monitor Farms very enjoyable. I’ve learnt something new every meeting and I like to be able to get into discussions with other people in the trade and fellow farmers.

“I also feel that every day is a school day and there is always something to learn, so what’s better than getting involved and having a group of farmers on my farm suggesting ideas and sharing their experiences.”

Ashley farms his 190 ha mixed farm in partnership with his family, with cereals, beef and lamb all contributing to the business. There’s plenty of diversification on the farm, from Christmas trees to a maize maze, and Ashley is passionate about always trying something new.

He said: “I’m always looking to experiment, to learn something new and to better our farm.”

A vital part of the Monitor Farm programme is the benchmarking, where a small group of farmers get together to compare, confidentially, their operating costs and learn where their own strengths and weaknesses are.

Ashley said: “We have been doing benchmarking for four years now and we get on well with it. I find it a handy tool to know and compare our costs.”

The first Monitor Farm meeting will be held in Saltash on 10 June. For more information contact