Region's farmers gain from Adam's insight
Leading farming personality and business owner Adam Henson shared his top tips for successfully growing a rural business during a visit to the region.
The event was hosted by Lloyds Bank Agriculture and focused on the future of farming, changing consumer habits and diversification.
Adam, who along with his business partner Duncan Andrews built a tenanted farm in the Cotswolds into a successful visitor attraction, delivered a talk to 120 farmers and rural estate managers from across the Midlands. He spoke about the issues currently facing the agricultural sector.
Speaking at the event at the Hawkesyard Estate in Staffordshire, Lloyds Bank farming ambassador Adam said: “Despite many aspects of farming remaining unchanged over the years, we can’t say the same about the economic and political landscape in which we operate. This is why it’s so important for those who own and run farming businesses to constantly look at ways to evolve and grow.”
Adam stressed the importance of having alternative revenue streams and gave examples of how he has done this, such as adding a cross country facility for horses, conference facilities, a farm shop and even expanding into a licensed premises to supply locally produced drinks – all while farming around 4,000 acres.
Adam added: “Bringing a new type of customer onto the farm through these different activities also acts as a great opportunity to showcase UK farming, and the fantastic products we produce. It can provide the transparency needed to help build up trust and confidence with consumers around welfare standards.
“The best advice I can offer is to take time to reflect on your farming operation, prepare and then make plans to change. Make sure you’re considering ever-evolving consumer demand and, above all, share best practice and learn from others.”
Adam was joined at the event by Lloyds Bank Agriculture’s newly appointed relationship director for the Midlands, Adrian Burden, together with area director for the Midlands region, Dave Knight.
Lloyds Bank commercial banking head of economics and strategy, Jeavon Lolay, also addressed the audience, offering insight into the current financial market and broader economic conditions.
He said: “The global economy has hit a soft patch. Major central banks are reacting to the uncertain outlook, but some key risks remain. In addition, in the UK, continuing Brexit uncertainties are making analysing and forecasting the economy much more difficult.
“During times of uncertainty, it’s important that farming businesses have a trusted banking partner on-hand. We can help agriculture professionals prepare for the future by ensuring they have the working capital available to continue to grow and prosper.”
The Hawkesyard Estate visit formed part of a full day programme for Adam. He later spoke to 40 agriculture professionals from across the region, at The Belfry in Wishaw. They discussed current opportunities and challenges the industry is facing, focusing on the value rural professionals can add to farmers and the industry in general.
By Kirrie McNab, for Lloyds Bank Agriculture