Over 30 farm and rural professionals gathered last Wednesday at South Battisborough Farm on the Flete Estate near Mothecombe, for the inaugural Devon Rural Professional’s Farm Walk organised by leading local accountancy firm, PKF Francis Clark.
The evening, hosted by Lawrence and Lee Glanville and their business partner Alastair Graham provided the opportunity for rural professionals to learn about their impressive operation, their recent diversification and their exciting plans for the future, as well as meet and talk to other professionals in the sector.
Andrew Squires, Partner at PKF Francis Clark, welcomed guests and introduced Lawrence, a long standing client of the firm, who then talked through the history of the farm. The backbone of the business is the herd of over 400 Jersey crossbred cows, which are bred for and run on the New Zealand system, which means that they stay outside, eating grass, for the whole year around – with only a very short stay indoors during calving. Lawrence pointed out that they grow more grass in December than they do in August due to the mild conditions, which makes using this system even more attractive. He also expressed the importance of high levels of animal welfare to the success of the business.
‘Surfing Cow’ ice cream has been a recent diversification, an idea borne out of the low milk prices of not so long ago and the brand was launched in May. By their own admission, the venture has been a ‘steep learning curve’, but just a few months in, this tasty addition to the business has already proven very popular at local events at which it has been sold and indeed at the farm gate itself.
Education is another string to the bow of this busy farm. Alastair Graham, as well as his interest in the South Battisborough Farm partnership, owns and runs Hall Grove School in Surrey which runs regular field study trips to nearby Battisborough House. The whole team are passionate about educating children and hope to inspire future generations. Lawrence and Alastair are keen to expand this side of the business going forward.
Following a very informative tour of South Battisborough Farm formalities were brought to a close and guests were able to taste 19 delicious flavours of ice cream and sorbet.
“Alastair and I are very proud of what we and our dedicated team of staff have achieved here and it was great to show such enthusiastic rural professionals around the farm, as well as Battisborough House and Surfing Cow Ice Cream.
“PKF Francis Clark have been an integral part of our business growth, in both an auditing and planning role. We are delighted to have been part of this event and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Andrew Squires, Partner at PKF Francis Clark said:
“The farm walk was a great success, and it was fantastic to listen to Lawrence and Alastair speak so eloquently and passionately about their business. There is a palpable buzz around the place. The ice cream venture is a fantastic addition to the farm business and the plans for expanding the education side is exciting too. It is absolutely critical that children understand exactly what it takes to get their food onto their plates. My sincere thanks to Lawrence, Lee, Alastair and the wider team for all of their hard work which went into making this evening such a great success”.