Canterbury-based Lincoln University is continuing its expansion into the North Island with the announcement of another farming partnership today.
With a newly-formed trust, it will be running a sheep and beef farm north of Bulls in the Rangitikei region as a as an agricultural training centre, and eventually a demonstration farm.
The 418-hectare Westoe farm has been gifted to the nation by local farmers and philanthropists Jim and Diana Howard.
Lincoln's vice chancellor, Andrew West, said the focus will be on teaching young people the practicalities of sheep and beef farming.
"You are taking young people straight from school and saying, 'Right this is your introduction to agriculture, this is how you drench sheep, shear an animal if you need to, how you look after pastures, this is how you feed animals.' "
Students will also learn about the environmental management of a farm, Dr West said.
"Later on we want to turn it into a scientifically monitored, highly intensive demonstration farm to show how well one can finish animals while remaining inside the environmental limits set by the regional council."
Dr West said young Maori from the Ngati Apa Iwi will be included in the training programme.
The Iwi is part of a partnership now running the former Flock House training and research farm nearby, after AgResearch sold most of it to Maori interests earlier this year.
The announcement followed Lincoln University's partnership with St Peter's School at Cambridge, to run the school's long-established dairy farm as a demonstration farm.
Lincoln now works with three farms in the North Island, which also includes Northland College in Kaikohe, Dr West said.
He said Westoe Farm will be managed by the Duncan Land Company, and some of its operation, training and demonstration activities will be integrated with the sheep farming and training operation at the company's Otiwhiti Station at Hunterville.