Could your farm business host the 2019 Farmplanner competition?

The Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM) is looking for a family farm business that needs to make decisions about its future direction and is willing to host teams of agricultural students to walk the farm and draw up competing business plans.

The host of this year’s Farmplanner competition must be prepared to set students some challenging questions.

“We are looking for a mixed farm with a host who is keen to gain answers to questions while helping to educate the next generation of those who will be managing farms,” said Richard Cooksley, IAgrM director.  

See also: Harper Adams team wins Farmplanner 2017 competition

What is Farmplannner?

  • A competition for teams from UK agricultural universities/colleges, usually attracting about 10 entries from which a shortlist of three is selected.
  • Teams are set questions by the host farmer, often addressing business structure, enterprise mix, staff, family involvement and/or assessing potential for new ventures.
  • Students address these by coming up with solutions, making a report, including recommendations to the farm owner in the same way that an independent consultant would.
  • It is a valuable opportunity for students to look at real-life situations.

The ideal host farm:

  • has at least two significant enterprises, preferably arable and livestock;
  • is located in the Midlands, but for the right site could be in the area bounded by Wrexham, Grantham, Reading and Bristol;
  • is willing to put in a total of four days’ time for initial IAgrM visit, introductory visit by teams, shortlisting day, and judging day;
  • needs to be open about issues the business/family faces, to involve family where it is a family business and be willing to supply figures in confidence to a level of detail that allows teams to draw a meaningful business plan; and
  • must be prepared to set students some challenging questions.

What’s in it for the host?

  • The host gains independent business insight/ideas – often ones that those close to the business might not come up with – from fresh eyes on the business and at no cost. Several ideas from previous years’ entries have been successfully taken up by the host farms.
  • The host is part of a successful competition that has been running for 25 years and tests students and gives them a real business to work with.

Recent hosts include:

  • John and Cathy Charles-Jones, Woodborough, Nottingham
  • Trustees of the Sundown Estate The Rea Farm, Upton Magna, Shrewsbury
  • Rockscape Contract Services, North Moor Farm, Crowle, Scunthorpe
  • Geoff and Angela Jones, The Yennards Farm, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire

Contact Richard Cooksley at IAgrM for more information: Portbury House, Sheepway, Portbury, Bristol BS20 7TE; telephone: 01275 843 825 or 07801 435772; email: