Three Beginning Farmers in the UK Tell Their StoriesThree young, beginning farmers from the UK tell their stories in an article here. Their operations are quite different (slurry injection, kid meat / goat products, and firewood). But there are many commonalities in their stories nevertheless. Below, excerpts summarizing their operations. Read more about each at the link above. Gareth Powell started a slurry injection business in 2008. A friend of mine was already in this line of work and had started using a slurry tanker and injector, but was finding that with the bigger farms he couldn't do the job quickly enough. So I started to look for a faster way of doing it, while keeping costs down. I bought the basic system from a local contractor who was giving up that part of his contracting services. The basic system cost me £10,000, but I knew straight away that I needed to invest in a shallow slot injector, which was purchased three months after I started. In the past five years I have invested the majority of my company profits into the business to get where I am today. Lizzie Dyer runs a kid meat business, which she started in 2013. I am a purveyor of quality Cotswold kid meat, using billy kids that would otherwise have been dispatched at birth. I want to give a purpose to these animals who otherwise are simply the unwanted by-product of the goat dairy industry.
With a friend, Ellie Parsons, I am also using both the hides and skins to produce handmade products like handbags, wallets and rugs.
I started on a very small budget purely from my own funds. I work part time and do lots of odd bits of work on the side, from working with sheep to waitressing. I have been able to reduce my rental costs by looking after my landlord’s sheep and I have kept my stocking rate low to start with, to allow me to do most things by hand. In October, my numbers will increase and so I will be using a milk machine that is being lent to me.
Ben Martin started a firewood business in 2009
I have a tenancy on 32ha and do contracting but my niche business is supplying quality seasoned firewood logs and kindling to domestic and wholesale customers.
It’s adding value to the by-product of the coppicing and woodland work we undertake. A quick Google search showed a lack of professional firewood suppliers in the area. It was a natural progression.
We started small scale, with a chainsaw and an axe so investment was minimal! We invest each year now to keep improving efficiency. Buying a new processor this year was a big outlay, but because it automates the process considerably and reduces the manual labour requirement a huge output is now potentially achievable.