Strategic Thinking

I’m a great believer in ‘marginal gains’ and ‘chain reactions’. If we do a number of things better our development will be accelerated. Attention to detail is critical in all this and it can be related to so many things in life: relationships, sport and business.

My business is farming and my farm has been given a huge opportunity by the Agricultural Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) by becoming their first Strategic Farm for Cereals and Oilseeds in the UK. The aim is to bridge the gap between researchers and farmers to make these new ideas easier to adopt, so our industry might be more open to change.

Farming and food research is moving at pace. The UK is right at the top for this research; so many seriously clever and passionate scientists working tirelessly to give everyone the edge. I say, ‘everyone’, because farmers produce food and we feed the world population. Sadly, sometimes our production can affect our natural environment and the industry takes this on board and tries to improve its practice through a whole host of initiatives.

The researchers are using ever-advancing technology to increase food production and at the same time reduce the impact of that food production on our natural environment. A hard task at the best of times and then how do they get actual farmers to try it and adopt it?

So over the next six years, I will be challenging my business to do just that and this blog will be filled with the trials and tribulations along the way. I will be open and honest. I’m not the best farmer, I’m just a farmer who likes to challenge himself one step at a time. This journey could create a chain reaction using an open farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange platform to get involved with. I hope many will take something back to their farm to try, so our industry can accelerate into what lies ahead.

Follow our journey online at AHDB Strategic Farm East or on Twitter #Strategicfarm or follow @the_barker_boys



Brian and his cousin Patrick run E.J. Barker & Sons, a family farm partnership and contracting business in Suffolk dating back to 1957. The 667ha arable farm business is farmed on 12 - and nine-year rotations, incorporating winter wheat for feed, spring barley, herbage grass seed, oilseed rape and a break crop of beans, linseed or peas. Environmental consideration is crucial to the running of the business, and remains a key factor in all decision-making on farm.

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