Martyn and Claire Eastham

New Entrant: Against the Odds awards winner 2020

Eastham and Chippindale,
Newhouse Farm,

Sponsored by: KW

Martyn and Claire Eastham run a 120-cow spring calving herd on a Dorset County Council farm. This year they have managed to extend their farm by an additional adjoining 38 hectares, as they are looking to grow their herd.

Selling milk to Barber’s Cheesemakers, the couple started their dairy journey in January 2015 on a share farming partnership near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, where they took on significant debt against a backdrop of a declining milk price.

Having successfully come through this challenging start, the Easthams have thrived since then and continue to build up their business. They have recently started to sell cheese they produce direct from the farm

Previous knowledge and experience has also helped support their farming venture and the pair operate their enterprise with a sound business acumen.

Martyn previously worked up the dairying ranks, having completed a National Diploma in Agriculture and travelled to Australia, South Dakota and New Zealand where he realised how progressive the sector can be.

Claire, who completed an agricultural degree at Bishop Burton went on to work for DEFRA, Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and Kingshay before settling with a large organic farming business in Dorset helping to oversee eight dairies.


Today on farm, after key investments in cows and improving grassland, Martyn manages the outside work while Claire takes care of the business side, such as accounts and grant applications.

Together they run a spring calving system as they seek to maximise milk from forage, and have found this low cost set-up makes them more resilient when and if the milk price fluctuates.

With a young family, the couple are also keen to strike a balance between life on-farm and spending time with their children.

The couple take time to develop their own mental wellbeing and resilience via the Focused Farmers initiative.

With a keen interest in regenerative agriculture, the couple are undertaking the LEAF ELMS trial and are implementing integrated farm management techniques to bolster sustainability on farm.

On winning, Claire said:

“Awards like this can help you stand out as you build your career in farming and it is a huge achievement to have won. It can also help the industry provide positive messaging about getting into agriculture.

“There still is not enough discussion about the different routes into farming and, while it is changing, there is often a view that you are either born into it or you are a farmworker. This award shows there are other options.

“We were just thrilled to have been chosen alongside the other nominees and are incredibly proud to have won. There were happy tears when we won the award. And then my phone went crazy with people ringing and texting us.”

What the judges said:

Martyn and Claire had an unerring focus on their plans for growth, a great attitude and were united as a strong team. The judges were collectively impressed by their modern, proactive approach to work/life balance, with the couple investing in themselves and their own skills in order to not only drive the business forward but also ensure they could spend precious time with their young family. The couple had worked incredibly hard to achieve their well-deserved success as a formidable husband and wife team.