Why Romeo would be an effective mentor

  • After leaving college, Romeo began working on his own farm, covering all aspects of general agriculture including dairy, beef and arable. The dairy side of the business was too small to be viable due to milk quota restrictions and Romeo was faced with a decision to expand or exit the sector
  • Romeo decided to finish dairying and started to diversify into horticulture and organic in 1990. He gradually reduced livestock numbers and the horticulture side of his farming has since evolved to become the mainstream enterprise. The open field scale horticulture has evolved from potatoes, through to carrots, parsnips, swedes and other root crops, while brassicas have developed from cabbage and cauliflower to vegetables such as broccoli and curly kale
  • Other crops include outdoor salads, lettuce and various summer crops of runner beans and other beans
  • By building up the horticulture side of the business, Romeo has gathered experience and skills which cover all practical aspects of horticultural production, and are worthy of being passed on
  • This includes selection of appropriate land, cultivation, planting, seeding, propagation, weeding, harvesting and associated equipment needed, pests and diseases, sourcing seeds and plants. Longer term this will include include additional marketing routes. Romeo also specialises in equipment and machinery that can be helpful in achieving better planting and harvesting
  • Over the years Romeo has changed techniques for soil management, including soil sampling, working stale weed beds and raising plants to transplant so there’s less competition for weeds
  • Romeo currently markets and sells his produce locally via social media and box schemes, with delivery or collection options. He also sells larger quantities to a local wholesaler, as well as selling his produce as far afield as Cardiff into other box delivery schemes
  • Having been certified organic since 1990, Romeo has gained the knowledge needed on how to approach aspects of administration, certification and practical growing relating to having organic status

Current farm business

  • 60 acres in total owned
  • 40 acres useable for horticulture in rotation. Three to four year rotation includes potato or brassica, vegetable crop, possibly another vegetable crop, then fertility crop or grass
  • Organic since 1990
  • Glastir organic scheme 

Qualifications/ achievements/ experience

  • Higher National Diploma in Agriculture, Welsh Agricultural College, Aberystwyth 1972-1975

TOP TIPS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS

“Persistence pays off. You have to work hard, be very focussed, very persistent and on top of things.”

“Try to follow the market and grow things that people might want.”