Collaboration with neighbouring farms on machinery, labour and crop storage has brought significant efficiencies to the farming operation of Adam Henson and his business partner Duncan Andrews, who run a 1,600 acre mixed farming enterprise at Bemborough Farm – plus additional joint venture farming – near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds.
Adam Henson, well-known to the wider public for his appearances on BBC Countryfile and Lambing Live, explains his collaborative approach to farm machinery use to John Maltby (right), managing director of Lloyds Banking Group, Commercial. Steve Mclean (centre left, Marks and Spencer), Duncan Sinclair (centre, Waitrose) and David Evans (centre right, Morrisons) also share in the debate.
Speaking at a food and farming industry forum organised by Lloyds TSB Agriculture at the farm last week, Mr Henson said strategic investment across both the arable and livestock enterprises – made possible by bank support and a co-operative approach with other farmers - were key to the successful advancement and sustainability of the business.
“We have reduced our arable production costs by around 10% as a direct result of forming a machinery syndicate with other farms,” said Mr Henson, who is Lloyds Banking Group’s Farming Ambassador. “Furthermore, we are able to afford the best available technology, so systems such as GPS and automated steering on tractors are improving our use of inputs – so saving costs and benefitting the environment.
“There’s also a positive impact on the staff on the farm, who now have the best equipment to work with. This is important, as we need more well-qualified young people to come in to farming, and this will only happen with greater job satisfaction and motivation.”
The forum had the overriding theme of ‘Can farming be profitable and sustainable?’ and involved a tour of the farm, with around thirty industry leaders representing major agribusinesses, food processors, supermarkets and the support sector.
John Maltby, Executive Director of Lloyds Banking Group, Commercial, speaking at the event said that the collaborative approach, exemplified by Bemborough Farm and its neighbours, could be beneficial throughout the food and farming sectors. He also added that there was an important role within this approach for a bank who understood the nuances of farming businesses.
“Lloyds TSB Agriculture has long been involved through our relationships with supply companies, processors and supermarkets – and we are now seen as an integrated part of the food supply chain,” he said. “This dedicated approach and commitment to supporting key markets is important. It is about having a focus and a better level of understanding of specific requirements, and it is making a difference for many of our food producing customers.
“With a growing global population and diminishing resources, farming and the associated food sector industries are going to need to work together more and more in the future.”
Lloyds TSB Agriculture attracted over 910 new farming customers from other banks in 2010.
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