JILLY GREED, Fortescue Farm, Thorveton, Devon
Farming 500 acres at Fortescue Farm in partnership with her husband Edwin, Jilly runs 80 spring-calving suckler cows, consisting of pedigree South Devons, Blondes and a cross between the two alongside dedicated countryside stewardship and environmental level schemes.
“Our aim is simple – a long term, sustainable adaptation to the new era of CAP reform by adding value and reducing cost where ever possible.”
The way forward has to be about business partnerships that deliver added value and extra margin, she says, as she talks in detail of how she agreed a forward priced contract with her processors Blade SW based on rewarding quality and consistency.
“The Blade system has been vigorous, and not without its challenges, but our close working relationship has meant we can deliver exactly what the processor demands.”
From tightening calving patterns, finishing periods and changes to diets, Jilly has made a conscious effort to cut cost where ever possible. And faced with farming in a TB-challenged area, reducing cost is even more vital when prevention measures add another 10p/kg to the farm’s overall production cost.
Although the couple are under no illusion as to the challenges ahead for the south west suckler industry, they play a crucial role in raising that profile both to the industry and the consumer. “Having been a face on Tesco beef labelling since 2005, I was invited to take part on a Tesco study tour to Argentina and Brazil to assess their import supply chain – a most valuable experience.”
This tour has galvanised Jilly’s council work with the NBA as well as the regional food group Taste of the West. She is in the process of securing public and private sector funding to explore market opportunities with major retailers, food service companies and public procurement.
As a professional marketer running her own PR company, One Voice Media in Exeter, Jilly is ideally placed to tackle the PR world of agriculture
So with the marketing side of the business taken care of, the Greed’s next goal is to challenge the much needed increase in beef price. “By being part of the taste of the west brand we’re in the process of increasing our price from an average £2.10/kg to £2.50/kg.
“We’re also entering the HLS scheme in 2010 when our countryside stewardship and ELS agreements end, taking a whole farm approach to environmental management integrated with the high quality beef and energy crops.”
“South west England has the image, the grass, the climate, the traditional breeds and a volume supply chain with built in brand values in its landscape, farming and tourism traditions – so we have to capitalise on that.”
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