We are gearing up for a major farming awards ceremony in the south west as a sponsor of the diversification category of South West Farmer’s annual awards. The awards will be held at the Somerset County Ground on Thursday, November 9th where we will present the award to one of four finalists named in the category.
Last year, Trink Dairy in St. Ives won the award. The family farm, run by husband-and-wife Chris and Rachel Knowles, diversified into pasteurising its milk six years ago. They are now expanding the cold storage area and have launched a new milk trailer where customers will be able to purchase its milk, milkshakes and other local produce. The milkshake bar and trailer were the ideas of daughter Maddy, who also works on the farm after graduating from Harper Adams University last year.
Rachel said: “We never realised just how popular our milk would be when we began pasteurising it ourselves, and now we need to expand our cold storage area to cope with demand which is a fantastic position to be in.
“It’s been wonderful to sell our milk on-site and engage with the public who enjoy it, and our milkshake bar has been a fantastic addition, with people travelling far and wide to try some of the more unusual flavours.
“Maddy spearheaded the project and also came up with the idea of moving our farm shop into a trailer before eventually using it to sell our milk and milkshakes at events to create another income stream for the business. We have three daughters – Maddy, Tamsin and Naomi – and diversifying in these ways has helped future-proof the business for them.”
This year, Rodney Gregory of Kerling Farm near Truro in Cornwall is the first nominee, who diversified his pedigree beef holding to accommodate a duck egg farm which produces around 2 million eggs a year.
Meggy Moo’s Dairy, in Shroton in Dorset, has developed a solar park and a unique milk pail system to allow customers to fill up empty bottles with its delicious unpasteurised milk without the need for a vending machine.
Knights Care Farm, based in the hamlet of Fluxton in Devon, has also been nominated for its commitment to providing alternative education to local secondary school pupils. They have also diversified to host weddings in a barn on the farm.
Finally, Hunts Cider of Broadleigh Farm in Devon has branched out into using the farm as a campsite for visitors who not only want to try their cider but to stay the night as well.
One of our partners and our Head of Green Energy and Sustainability, Darren Edwards, will be presenting the diversification award at the ceremony. Darren said: “Diversification is such an important aspect of farming at the moment, especially with Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments being phased out.
“Finding the right way to make extra income from what you have on your farm is not always easy, so it’s great to see these four businesses have found some brilliant, innovative solutions. All four are worthy winners, but I am excited to announce the overall winner when the ceremony comes around. As a business, we have been advising farmers and landowners on diversification projects for decades and I’d encourage anyone with any questions about it to get in touch with the team at Exeter to discuss how we can help.”