• Sponsored by Massey Ferguson
  • WINNER: James Price, Perdiswell Farm, Oxfordshire

James Price is definitely one to watch in farming. A young arable grower from Woodstock in Oxfordshire, who is destined for bigger things as he faces a wealth of opportunities with his own business and is an industry innovator.

The 30-year-old impressed the judges with his personable approach and his pioneering spirit. He runs an arable, composting and precision farming operation on 648ha (1600 acres) of challenging Cotswold Brash soils which is owned, rented and contract farmed.

But this is no ordinary grower. He has built up his own operation by taking on neighbouring farms as a contractor, which is quite an achievement given that the ultimate in competition – Velcourt – is on his doorstep. Building strong, trusting relationships with local landlords has been key to his success.

James is also keen to try new technologies to make money and be environmentally sound. He is using coffee waste from a Kraft factory to fertilise his soils by mixing it with straw and then spreading before cultivations. Another sideline is his role working for Yara fitting N Sensors and training farmers to use them to target inputs better.

His strategy has been to grow the family farming business, D V H Price and Son, but also to diversify to spread the risk and explore new areas. Technology is one of his big passions and lots of shiny new machinery is evident the moment one walks on to his immaculate farm.

James is well organised with strong technical capabilities and an intelligent approach to farming as a business. His father, Malcolm, and a farm consultancy firm advise him on financial performance but improving margins is an area he recognises warrants more attention on his part.

James grows milling wheat on a Warburton’s contract through Openfield and has invested in building a new weighbridge for the 2009 harvest. Last year’s expansion project was an £80,000 new grain store.

Investment in his own learning is also key as he is keen to get BASIS and FACTS qualified. The Price family is committed to environmental best practice with James’ mother, Margaret, a birdwatcher and gardener and his sister, Vicky, is an agri- environment adviser for Natural England. James has just joined LEAF and is enthusiastic about the benefits but we can’t help thinking there might have been a bit of arm twisting going on at home to encourage him to join.

Through his knowledge of precision farming, he is pro-active in sustainable farming practices and practices positive relationships with other landlords.

James-Price-main

FARM FACTS

  • Arable, composting and precision farming
  • Two part time staff
  • 1600 acres managed
  • Runs farm business but also industry employed

WHAT MAKES HIM A WINNER?

  • Tries new methods and technologies
  • Strong technical ability
  • Intelligent approach to farm business

SPONSOR’S VIEW

  • James is a credit to British agriculture. He has displayed just how professional and forward thinking today’s young farmers have become. Gary Henly, Agco

INDEPENDENT JUDGE

  • In talking to James, you gain the impression early on of a highly intelligent and somewhat visionary young farmer. He is someone whose considerable technical abilities and creativity will continue to take our industry forward. Paul Davies