Growing your business through different agreements
Evolution Farming: Tom Rawson and Oliver Hall
In just six years Tom and Oliver have gone from just a few hundred cows to milking around 1,000 cows. One of the secrets to their success? A very flexible approach to agreements and land tenure.
Tom commented: “Ideally you would, of course, have a long-term farm business tenancy but the reality is these are rarely available. Our approach has included tenancies but also management agreements and share farming arrangements.”
One of the key areas of growth was taking on a contract farming agreement in Turnberry, Scotland. When they took the unit they had 140 cows but expanded it to 300 cows within 18 months.
The farming system is kept very simple with block calving and efficient use of forage at the heart. With growth coming from “marrying up” of opportunities to investors with Evolution Farming as the facilitator with the proven model for success.
Another approach Tom and Oliver applied to their business to help them grow was hiring in cows rather than buying. Tom noted: “If we had had the money we would have bought cows. However, when setting up a new business, cash is one of your limiting factors, therefore using investors to buy cows and hire them to us allowed us to grow much quicker than we would otherwise have been able to.”
One of the main factors that have helped Tom and Oliver grow their business is taking as much advice as they can. They used an external business coach when setting up their business and now have an advisory board made up of investors and external advisors.