Tuesday, June 24, 2014

News: Rotherham's future farmer

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A young farmer from Rotherham has secured the backing of retail giant, Tesco as he sets out to grow his business.

Nick Grayson is one of a group of young people benefiting from a 12 month package of training, business planning advice, supply chain experience and networking opportunities as part of a new initiative.

Tesco's Future Farmer Foundation sees groups of young farmers taking part in business planning workshops, guiding them through the process of creating a robust business plan. They have access to Tesco's online Producer Network, where over 2,000 producers and suppliers already network, share best practice and ideas and access expertise from industry leaders.

Following in his father's footsteps, Nick, 24, has recently taken on his family's arable, beef and turkey farm in the picturesque surroundings of Wentworth.

Nick has made it onto Tesco's Future 15 programme for the most remarkable young farmers. The rigorous programme includes tailored training and support, supply chain experience, access to an individual inspirational mentor and the opportunity to win an international research scholarship.

At their first two day training event they assessed their own strengths and weaknesses, and attended master-classes on succession planning, entrepreneurship and strategic decision making.

Tom Hind, director of Agriculture at Tesco said: "We are delighted to have such an enthusiastic and determined group of young farmers to get the Future Farmer Foundation off to a flying start. Their drive and passion for farming is a real inspiration and we're delighted to help them shape their business ideas and career goals over the next year."

Nick Grayson, farm manager at Nether Haugh Farm, added: "As a young farmer trying to become established within the agricultural industry, having a bank of knowledge and expertise at my fingertips is a fantastic opportunity. Of particular interest to me are the marketing and supply chain aspects, business strategy and planning skills.

"Alongside the official training, I look forward to having conversations with other participants to learn of their businesses and how similar operations to mine are carried out elsewhere."

Funded by Tesco and free for participants, the Foundation is unique in its tailored, candidate-led approach. Successful applicants will be able to choose a programme suited to their own aspirations and business needs.

Nick added: "In the past year we have been struck by the tragic passing of my father, which has led to the responsibility of the business being handed to me sooner than expected. The various business units including 200 acres of arable and a rapidly expanding beef herd are keeping me busy, but I believe there to be scope for more growth.

"Going forward, I want to firstly increase the sales of farm fresh turkeys as I feel this is an area with huge potential to expand. I would then like to look more into direct selling beef from my growing suckler herd to compliment the turkeys.

"My longer term plans and goals for the farm over the next five years or so years are to improve and modernise the farm's infrastructure, making key practices easy to carry out and more beneficial for the animals themselves.

"Making the farm a more integral part of the community with the possibility of offering apprenticeship placements would be great. Ideally I would like Nether Haugh to become a source of education for the public by taking part in initiatives like Open Farm Sunday."

Tesco Future Farmer Foundation website

Images: Tesco

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