Saturday, June 6, 2020

Sustainable farming entrepreneur tells growth story

Farming entrepreneur Mark Green was the guest speaker at a food and agriculture dinner hosted by accountancy firm Saffery Champness and insurance and risk management advisers JLT Specialty.

The event was held at The George Hotel in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and was attended by over 30 Directors and owners of food and agriculture related businesses.

During his presentation and over dinner in the London Room, Mark described how back in 2002, at the height of foot and mouth disease epidemic, he and his father watched on as the smoke from burning 5,000 sheep and 250 prize cattle filled the Herefordshire skyline.

This became the turning point from which a sustainable enterprise would arise from the ashes. The compensation was used as part of a long-term plan to create a connected farming business, and the investment has significantly benefited the local community.

Fast forward to 2017, and this family business, which includes Ditton Farm through The Green Farm Partnership, Court Farm Chickens and MFG Limited, and its latest venture into using renewable energy to power the farm, it is clear that the enterprise is well on the way towards being the connected business Mark envisioned.

Mark described the activities of his farming enterprise and how his business plan is delivering success.

Commenting he said, “In a nutshell, the annual cycle begins with planting crops. Some of the cereals grown feed the chickens, the maize produces bedding for the chickens, which produces muck, the muck goes into the renewable energy anaerobic digester which produces energy and fertiliser to grow the crops for the next cycle of energy. The chicken sheds also have solar panels on them to create electricity which goes back to the grid providing power to homes. The result of the business plan is a fully connected farming enterprise, which has been significantly de-risked as a result of being a much diversified business.”

Previous speakers have included James Dallas from Openfield Agriculture and Graham Baker of Butchers Pet Care.

Commenting, Alistair Hunt, Partner in the Saffery Champness Peterborough office said, “This was the fifth in an ongoing series of dinners and the concept has grown in popularity as it provides business leaders with an opportunity to meet with likeminded industry professionals and learn about new developments, technologies and best practices related to the growing of vegetables and crops, food production and processing and store retailing concepts.”

Jon Miller, National Food and Agriculture Partner for JLT Specialty based across the Midlands added, “The dinners are part of an overall commitment from the professional advisory community to bring businesses together from similar sectors to learn from each other. The benefits include enhancing networks, sharing ideas others have successfully implemented and a much greater understanding of the risks which may lie ahead.”

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