Bold plan for Royal Farms dairy scoops farm business prize

Bishop Burton college student Adam Milner has been named as the winner of the 2015 Farmplanner of the Year competition.

He is the first to take the award as an individual, rather than a team member, in the annual competition that sets challenges for college and university teams based on a real farm or estate.

The judges said Mr Milner’s plan for the Royal Farms at Windsor stood out for its brave approach to the dairy enterprise.

The business encompasses a diverse 1,145ha, including Windsor Great Park, 440ha of combinable crops and dairy, beef, pig and poultry enterprises.

See also: Farmplanner of the Year again for Dorset four

Host the 2016 Farmplanner challenge

A host farm is needed for the 2016 competition.

The organisers are looking for farming businesses with management questions which the student teams can explore in order to produce a business plan.

Ideally this will be a family-owned business in central England with both arable and livestock enterprises.

If you would like to give students the chance to test their mettle on your farm business or estate, please contact IAgrM director Richard Cooksley on 01275 843 825 or

It was felt Mr Milner had considered the business as a whole and kept in mind the ethos and aims of the estate and its owners.

The estate has a thriving farm shop, which markets goods from the Royal Farms.

“Adam was the clear winner,” said the Royal Farm’s assistant farm manager Henry Blain.

“Reading University and Harper Adams both delivered their presentations very professionally.

“The deciding factor between Adam and the runners-up was the strong financial information used to justify his choices.

“Instead of simply exploiting the successful enterprises, he looked at those not performing quite as we would want them to and came up with a well-constructed plan.”

Adam, who has just completed a degree in agricultural resource management, also scored highly in the employability category.

Farmplanner of the Year is run by the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM) and sponsored by Farmplan and Shorts Agricultural Services.

Teams visit the farm chosen as the case study, then prepare a business development plan explaining what changes they would implement. Shortlisted teams are invited to present their cases to the judges.

This year’s judges were: Henry Blain, The Royal Farms; Piers Costley, Farmplan; Tim Brigstocke, IAgrM; Martin Redfern, former head of agriculture, Barclays Bank; and Farmers Weekly Business editor Suzie Horne.


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