Why Keri would be an effective mentor
- Beef and sheep farmers Keri and his wife Julie started diversifying into a tourism business which has since expanded rapidly. They began with two American log homes and have since purchased a neighbouring farm, converting the farm house and two barns to sleep 25 guests, and also purchased a local pub. Their planned programme of business development has continued with 5* accommodation in a mix of converted and new buildings together with glamping pods. More recently they have converted the home farm, and purchased a coastal property in Saundersfoot, increasing their sleeping capacity to 100 bed accommodation. The business has also invested £150,000 in renewables in recent years.
- Keri has been successful in developing Beacons Water Group (BWG), a collaboration of 6 farmers working with Welsh Water to set up a Community Interest Company (CIC), of which Keri is a director. The group are piloting innovative ideas on flood prevention, nutrient management, collating weather and carbon sequestration data across the catchment. The group is keen to help other farmers work together on a catchment-scale, and potentially seek alternative funding schemes through land-use change.
- Keri participated in the Agri Academy Rural Leadership programme when it first launched in 2012 and says the experience, benefits and new networks have been life-changing. It gave him the confidence, skills, and networks to become more involved with farm policy at a strategic level as well as developing a more strategic approach to business development. A keen advocate of both personal and business development, two of his three children participated in the Junior programme and are coming home to run the tourism and farm businesses.
- Keri concentrates on rearing high-quality stock, alongside managing the farm effectively to ensure that every element of the business achieves its potential. With a keen eye on the future, he’s already making plans to involve his son and daughter with a robust succession plan
- Keri’s great communication skills have meant he’s proved to be a popular and effective spokesperson representing the industry in Wales and beyond. He’s keen to encourage other entrepreneurial farmers to consider new streams of income which can help them build up profitable and sustainable farm businesses
Current farm business
- 130 acres, plus 150 acres rented from parents – all farmed organically resulting in a low cost environmentally friendly farming system based on high sugar grasses
- In Glastir Entry and Glastir Advanced
- 30 breeding cows
- 30 store cattle
- 550 Black Faced Mule crosses and Texel ewes sold under contract to Waitrose
- EID equipment is used to monitor performance, including a 3-way auto drafter and clamping mobile yard
- 7 acres of winter sown cereals
- 9 x 5* self-catering accommodation units sleeping up to 88 guests
- 3 x 5* bespoke railway wagon glamping pods sleeping up to 12 guests
- Pub, restaurant and B&B premises in Libanus
- 1 long-let property
- Contracting - verge mowing, hedge trimming & round baling
- Provision of sports pitches for a local school
- NCA in Agriculture (Distinction) - Usk College of Agriculture
- Involved with a number of organisations including chairing a record group for the Welsh Government’s ‘Working Smarter’ red tape review and representing the organic industry as part of the Glastir Review.
- Director of Beacons Water Group
- Joint-Vice Chair of Organic Forum
- Member of Welsh Water Mega Catchment Steering Group
- Undertaken numerous land-based training courses including chainsaw operation, spraying, tractor driving and hedge trimming
- Wales finalist in the Silver Lapwing awards 2017
- 2012 Agri Academy Member and still heavily involved with his year group
TOP TIPS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
“Start with your soils. Every business needs to stand on firm foundations. Make sure all your diversification enterprises are built on the ability to borrow on profitable farm accounts.”
“Have a positive attitude at all times and try and mix with positive people. Take every opportunity to get off farm and learn from others.”
“Common sense and enthusiasm will very often win the day.”