It’s good to talk

I wrote last month about learning from the pig industry. Well there are plenty of discussions going on now. Brexit consultations everywhere. It is important to contribute to shape our future. However the reality is every business has to stand on its own two feet – any extra help from government policy will be a bonus.

Farmers in all sectors continue to scratch their heads to run their businesses in an environment of market and weather volatility. The British Cycling Team’s heroics in the recent Olympics (again!) have been well documented – improving a lot of little things to contribute to make a big difference. This strategy can be equally applied to farming.

One simple item is communication, both within and between businesses. Here is a three question quiz to check yourself against:

  1. When did you last talk to family members or board directors specifically about each other’s objectives, the future and to make some clear strategy decisions? Where do you want to be, and what do you want your business to look like in 10 years’ time?
  2. When did you last talk to a fellow grower to share and compare best practice, to consider cooperation? Nobody (that I know) gets everything 100% right in every department.
  3. When did you last talk to another farmer in a different sector? Have you got something he would like and vice versa – muck for straw? Over/under utilised farm machinery or labour? Livestock needing extra hectares exchanged for crop rotations needing a grass break?

Whether it’s over the kitchen table, over the farm gate, at a market, or in a meeting, it’s good to talk! As my mother (and grandmother!) lectured me: “There is no harm in asking. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”



Taunton-based Philip joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds from HSBC Agriculture, where he was Senior Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studied agriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a Senior Business Management Consultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC. He brings substantial business management experience to the Regional Team, and a detailed understanding of the complexities of the industry in the region.

Comments are closed here.