Farming in Cumbria may bring to mind visions of flat caps and collie dogs however whilst that still rings true for many farms, the key to our finalists success has been diversity. Meet three very different Cumbrian farms who are dealing with the pressures on a traditional industry in ingenious ways.
We, Terry & Anne, Andrew (our Son) and Jen (our daughter-in-law) decided in 2005 that we needed to diversify as farming dairy cattle and sheep was not bringing in enough income. After an agonising decision, we decided to sell our 150 dairy cattle.
We had a 5-acre boggy field which we thought half of it would make an excellent lake and the rest we would like to place holiday homes around the edge of the lake. We applied for planning permission which we obtained and set about digging out the boggy area in January 2007, put in all the infra structure, gas, electricity, water, etc, and sold our first plot in September 2007.
We used neighbouring trades people to help us build the Park. We now have 20 plots on Lightwater Tarns and a whole bunch of great holiday home owners. They use local farm shops, local businesses, etc, and generally bring income into this beautiful area. Our lives have been enhanced by this diversification on so many levels.
The Stable family have farmed in and around Urswick for the past 200 years. Currently we farm 500 acres at two farms. At Bolton Manor there are the 250 dairy cows run by Tom and Anna Stable and at Edgehill we grow feed (forage and cereals) for the dairy herd and youngstock. At Edgehill, Mike and Denise look after the farm and turn some of the milk into delicious ice cream which we sell through our on-farm ice cream parlour. Our customers like the provenance of our ice cream and the food miles (only 2 miles), from production of the milk to making and consumption of the finished product. We are looking forward to reopening at Easter and welcoming our regular customers who have supported us so well.
West Coast Composting Ltd is a family business which has been established since 2008 as a recycling, and more lately renewables company in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Initially we set off recycling green waste, timber and plasterboard, plus produced compost but have since diversified into biomass and renewable energy. In addition we now produce and supply biomass fuels, kiln dried logs with further plans to expand our services and products that will benefit the agricultural industry. We are presently forming ‘West Coast Group’ so we can differentiate the sectors in which we operate; Compost and Recycling, Fuels; and Agriculture. We pride ourselves in offering a friendly, reliable and helpful service that thrives on positive feedback, adapting to customer needs and enjoy working with clients to come up with bespoke solutions. We are ‘The natural choice’.
We wish all the finalists good luck on the night! One of them will be crowned the winner of Cumbria Agriculture Forestry and Farming Business of the Year and could even become the overall winner. See you on the 10th March at Cumbria Family Business Awards!