The banks will back you if your business case is strong enough, as a farming family on Anglesey recently found out
A pig farming family on the island of Anglesey has received a major financial investment from their bank to upgrade their rearing enterprise, helped by the experts at agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS.
John and Christine Jones, along with their son Paul and his wife Sam, sought business advice from ADAS through Farming Connect’s Whole Farm service, allowing the family – based at Rhosgoch, Anglesey – to approach NatWest with a robust business plan for upgrading the farm’s pig-rearing facilities.
The Jones family farms two separate units with 290 acres at Llwyn yr Arth, which includes 90 acres rented from Ynys Mon County Council and a further 80 acres on short-term private rental agreements.
The thriving grassland business stocks 200 sows and 900 sheep, but the family had to consider whether it was worthwhile to continue in the pig industry, particularly at a time of economic downturn and spiralling costs.
ADAS national pig specialist David Moorhouse advised them that with the right level of investment, the family could further develop the pig-farming side of the business into a more profitable venture.
“I advised the business to invest in new finishing facilities to take the pigs to a heavier weight on a more modern and efficient system,” Mr Moorhouse said. “This would reap significant financial benefits for the family, as taking the pigs to a heavier weight would mean a better return per animal.”
Upgrading the farrowing facilities at the farm would allow the pig herd to rise to 270 sows while also maintaining low mortality rates in the piglets. The business already had a good record for animal health and welfare, however more-modern facilities would enhance this further, while providing environmental benefits by lowering energy costs.
Armed with the pig-rearing improvement plans, the family then worked with Cate Barrow, a business expert at ADAS. Together they produced a comprehensive business plan to present to the bank, proving the scheme was financially viable and worth of investment.
“Investors needed to see that their money was going to be safe and would produce a return on investment,” Ms Barrow said. “I worked with the family to draw up a business plan with regular monitoring against cashflow projections to make sure key targets and parameters were met.”
This summer, NatWest put a substantial sum of money into the Jones family’s pig-rearing enterprise. Work has now started on the farm to upgrade the facilities, and this is due to be completed by the end of the year.
“We were operating a traditional pig unit with 200 commercial Large White cross sows, with the pigs finished at cutter weight (68kg) on straw yards,” Paul Jones said. “This was very labour intensive and, in addition to that, our buildings needed significant modernisation.
“Thanks to the expert advice and guidance from ADAS, we can bring the unit up to modern standards and efficiency levels. We had a tough start to 2013, challenged by the adverse weather conditions, but we know that by the end of the year, we’ll be up to target in terms of numbers and pig weights.
“The future of the pig farm certainly looks bright,” he added, “and we’re looking forward to seeing the financial benefits of running an effective and profitable business.”
More information about ADAS can be found at: www.adas.co.uk