Tom Addison

Addison Agri,
Green Valley Farm,

Sponsored by: ABN

Green Valley Farm:
• Tenant of Green Valley Farm, Buckinghamshire
• Been in business eight years
• 300 acres: 50 acres of grass on annual grazing agreements with further grazing at two dairy farms and a horse stud yard.
• Lambs 150 ewes and rears between 300-400 dairy x calves inside. Expanding into store cattle.

AFTER studying agriculture at Moulton College, Tom worked on sheep, arable and cattle farms in Australia for three months then started lambing and relief milking for various farms in the area on his return.
He began his business in 2013 after bringing eight pet lambs back from a lambing job and purchasing 40 ewe lambs.
But his five-year business plan for a £27,000 loan to buy 400 sheep was rejected by the bank in 2015, due to his age and not owning a house. To date he has never received any funding from the bank.

In 2018, Tom changed to outdoor lambing to reduce costs, and all finished lambs are sold through Farmers Fresh at Kenilworth or his own box scheme which uses a local slaughterhouse five miles away. He also purchases 100 pet lambs from local farmers each April.
Making use of the empty buildings, Tom buys calves from Buitelaar, Livestock Link and auction marts to rear, which are then sold privately, either to regular customers or farm-to-farm through Thame market, Meadow Quality and Breedr.

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Building relationships
Key investments include calf igloos with locking head yokes, financed through a Henry Plumb Foundation grant, which has helped improve calf health as well as handling.
Tom has also taken part in the 2019 Tesco Future Farmers scheme, has a mentor through the Henry Plumb Foundation, is part of Breedr’s calf-rearing discussion group and sits on the Defra committee helping to co-design the new entrant scheme launching next year.
In addition to finance, accessing land due to Tom’s location on the edge of Milton Keynes, has been a big challenge. He has worked hard to build relationships with as many local landowners as possible, with communication vital to growing his business.
Accessing buildings has also been difficult for Tom with huge demand for commercial lets in the area and is the biggest limiting factor on expanding his calf rearing business.
Going forward, Tom is looking to work with arable farms, in the hope that they will supply buildings in exchange for a reliable source of muck on farm.

Proudest moment

“I’m very proud of the calf shed I have been able to build. To be able to put together a unit which provides the best environment for the calves to be reared in for them to thrive and a workplace that’s easy and efficient for us to work in is fantastic. I hope to be able to expand this massively in the future and take learnings from here forward.

“The boxed lamb is also a big part of my business and its incredible to see the responses we get from customers and the number of regularly returning customers is great. To also be at a point now where my business is capable of employing myself and start to turn a profit is amazing, this is what I dreamt of when I started.”

What the judges said:

 Despite being rejected for a loan by the bank because he was too young and had no mortgage, Tom’s positive approach to innovation and openness to opportunities really impressed the judges as did his aptitude to find practical economical solutions to challenges and good eye for production and performance. He had a strong knowledge and understanding of the wider industry issues and had also developed himself personally to become more resilient.

On winning, Tom said:

“It is fantastic to win – I am over the moon as the other nominees were phenomenal. I have seen the names of previous winners and I am very honoured to be included on that list and hope I can be as innovative.

“I am now looking forward to celebrating.”