Second farm investment helps Transition pig farmers meet goals

Investing in a second farm with buildings is helping pig farmers Vicky and Kate Morgan take back control.

The appeal of the former 30-acre pig breeding site was its farmyard and the potential to replace ageing infrastructure with modern sheds and straw yards for 4,000 weaners.

One of the reasons for buying the farm, which is about 15 miles from the home farm at Pockthorpe, was to reduce reliance on third-party bed-and-breakfast providers.

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Vicky says availability of third party accommodation is increasingly limited.

“There is a lot of competition from big vertically integrated multiples adding to the pressure,” she says.

“Building our own will give us the opportunity to run it to our standards.”

The Morgans will still work with third-party farmers when the new infrastructure is up and running in September 2024.

“These farmers have been working with us for many years and are highly valued and appreciated. They do a great job,” says Vicky.

But reducing reliance on sites that charge prices which can be unjustifiable will help the sisters achieve a Transition goal – to establish more influence over their own destiny.

Transition goals

  • Facilitate structural change in supply chain
  • Establish more influence over their own destiny
  • Diversify

Farm facts: DP Morgan, Pockthorpe, East Yorkshire

  • 1,700 breeding sows
  • Weaning 1,000 pigs a week – finished on-site and through B&B
  • 140ha rented out

They have also made significant progress with one of their other goals: to diversify.

In April 2023 they welcomed the first visitors to their six holiday lodges, Kesters Country Lodges, and a few months later, a one-bedroom former pumphouse conversion opened at Pockthorpe.

Although the payback period on the conversion of the old building at Pockthorpe is likely to be 10 years, the project has served two purposes.

“We knew we needed to diversify to provide long-term financial stability and the pump­house was a lovely old building that we needed to do something with,” Vicky explains.

Her sister, Rachel, is running the lodges with help from their mother, Sue.

But it is not easy balancing the diversification with farming full-time.

“It doesn’t seem fair that farmers have to do something else on top of working in a demanding full-time job, just to spread the risk,” says Vicky.

Explore more / Transition

This article forms part of Farmers Weekly’s Transition series, which looks at how farmers can make their businesses more financially and environmentally sustainable.

During the series we follow our group of 16 Transition Farmers through the challenges and opportunities as they seek to improve their farm businesses.

Transition is an independent editorial initiative supported by our UK-wide network of partners, who have made it possible to bring you this series.

Visit the Transition content hub to find out more.