Multiple revenue streams guided by one clear principle
Branching out into office space rental, growing barley for beer and sending beans to Egypt provides security for future generations at Newton Lodge.
Fourth-generation farmer Rick Davies might have been driving a tractor since he was 11, but these days he’s just as likely to be found managing potential tenants for one of his converted pig buildings as he is cultivating the land.
Serving the local community
Rick took over the family farm in 2019 and, in partnership with his parents, Mike and Chris Davies, he’s been the driving force behind turning their cattle enterprise into land that also serves the local community. Not only does Newton Lodge rent out converted storage containers and office space to a range of local businesses, it also delivers meat boxes to the local area, grows milling wheat for bread and barley for brewing beer. Rick’s latest venture is growing spring beans, which he’s exporting to Egypt and the Middle East to make falafel. Rick’s brother George runs his turf-supply business from the farm, too.
“All I ever wanted to be was a farmer,” he explains. “The family has had the farm since 1926, but things have changed a lot since then. For a small farm like this, offering a single product – whether it’s livestock or arable – simply isn’t sustainable. I want us to be here in another four generations’ time. That means finding new ways to make the best use of what we’ve got.”
Serving the land
As well as plans to expand the container-storage business, providing more space for his commercial tenants and moving into composting with his brother, Rick is looking into a shared farming venture designed to help restore nutrients into the soil, making the farm truly sustainable. “I think the knowledge we have now means we’re far more aware of what we need to do to keep farming for longer. As farmers, we have a responsibility to the land. We want to profit from it, certainly, but we can only do that if we look after it as well. Restoring nutrients is, in effect, investing in the future.” Throughout all his ventures, Rick has followed one clear principle – to make sure he has a definite market for what he’s trying to achieve.
“If supermarkets weren’t buying wheat, or local businesses didn’t need storage or office space, we would have done something else. There was a clear market need, and I knew that we could meet that, and even surpass it.”
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