Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monitor Farm growers join forces for greater good

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Neighbourly collaboration is the name of the game for the AHDB’s new Monitor Farm project in East Anglia: farmers Tom Mead and David Hurst are joining forces bringing their shared experience together for the benefit of other local farmers.

The two growers farm almost next door to each other close to Duxford on land connected by the old Icknield Way on the Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire border – but their businesses are miles apart in size and structure.

Mr Mead runs 377ha at Bleak House Farm with his father, while Mr Hurst is the arable manager for Law Farming, responsible for over 1,350ha. Mr Mead said: “We’ve got different businesses but the same challenges.”

Productive agriculture

Both are relatively young farmers with a passion for running an efficient, productive and profitable business that serves the needs of their customers – all in the difficult context of the weather, markets and the prospect of reduced farm payments.

For Mr Mead, time management and the customer are key. “I’d like to look at how we decide what to focus on. Are there things we should collaborate on with others to reduce costs? How do we get better at time management? I also want to maintain a good work-life balance.

“We also need to think more about the customer, to focus on their needs and demands.”

As always, the main aim is profitability. Benchmarking is going to be a vital part of the process for both farms, using AHDB’s Farmbench to analyse and compare their costs. Mr Hurst said: “Of course, we want to make money from farming.”

Ahead of the game

He added: “We want to open our eyes and get ahead of the game. Times are changing quickly. I’m looking forward to learning from other businesses, both farmers and people from different parts of the supply chain.”

AHDB knowledge exchange manager Teresa Meadows said: “By having these two ambitious farmers hosting the project together, we’ve got an exciting opportunity to explore farm business resilience from two scales and viewpoints.

She added: “With this critical time ahead in our industry this new joint Monitor Farm for the region will bring with it a new dynamic for the programme and a multitude of areas to explore over the three years ahead.”

AHDB Monitor Farms bring together groups of farmers who want to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice with local growers and a nationwide network of host farms.

Monitor Farms are part of the AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which works with the industry to improve performance through knowledge exchange and benchmarking.

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