Cultiv8 Making a success of succession

Making a Success of Succession

By | Cultiv8, News

Cultiv8, the East of England Agricultural Society’s membership group for young professionals in the Agri-Food industries, is delighted to release details about their forthcoming event, titled “Making a Success of Succession”.

Taking place on Thursday 21st February, at the East of England Showground, the session will cover succession in agriculture and family businesses.

Topics being covered through the evening include planning, timing, legal documents, tax implications, common mistakes, pensions and nursing care. All areas which can sometimes be awkward to discuss with family members and are better managed with information and facts at hand.

The key speaker for the evening is Sian Bushell from Sian Bushell Associates. As a trained facilitator with a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector, Sian helps any type of family business to develop successful succession plans.   

Sian’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Cultiv8 Chairman Rob Wilkinson, who will be joined by Sian Bushell, Clare Harris – Associate, Greenwoods GRM and Francis Hudson – Tax Director, MHA MacIntyre Hudson plus Cultiv8 member and Land Agent Tom Arthey, Arthey Associates with opportunities for Q&A from the audience.

“We are really looking forward to hosting this evening talk with such a hot topic. Succession is a big and often awkward subject, especially in the farming industry. We look to provide guests with useful and applicable information that will help them start the important conversations and aid them in protecting and future proofing their businesses”, said Ruth Trolove, Agricultural Development Coordinator for the East of England Agricultural Society.

The event is open to all and is FREE attend but places must be booked in advance via our website www.eastofengland.org.uk/event/making-a-success-of-succession

If you would like any further information about the event or Cultiv8, please contact Ruth Trolove on RTrolove@EastofEngland.org.uk or 01733 363509

Cultiv8 Blog- Jake Freestone

By | Cultiv8

The first Cultiv8 meeting of 2019 got off to a fantastic start with Jake Freestone speaking to the group at the Showground in Peterborough. I hadn’t met or heard Jake speak before, but knew of him through social media, both on Twitter (@No1FarmerJake) and his blog (farmerjakef.blogspot.com)

Jake talked to us about his journey through agriculture so far, how he wasn’t from a farming background but studied and worked his way up the industry to a farm manager for Velcourt before moving to Overbury Farms back in 2003. He took us through the journey for his Nuffield Scholarship in 2013 on “Breaking the wheat yield plateau in the UK” where he traveled across North America and New Zealand looking at how no till, crop rotation and the re-introduction of livestock can be used to improve soil health and in turn improve yield.

This lead us on nicely to the changes Jake has made in recent years at Overbury Farms, moving to a no-till system, reducing fertiliser, insecticide and herbicide use and stopping using seed dressings altogether. Cover crops are used ahead of spring crops and grazed by sheep over winter. The sheep enterprise has been expanded, with short term grass leys being added into the arable rotation to provide additional forage. Jake emphasised the point that livestock are key, and he is getting the sheep around as much of the farm as possible.

I was particularly interested to hear about the diverse mix of cover crops, and companion crops that Jake is using – lots of inspiration for me to be a little more creative back at home! Jake took plenty of excellent questions from the group throughout the evening, which was rounded off by a lively Q&A at the end – I think it’s safe to say that we all left with plenty of ideas!

By Ben Stroud @StroudAgri

Cultiv8 February- 21st February 2019- Making a Success of Succession. Click here to find out more.


Sign up for Cultiv8 trip to Norfolk!

By | Cultiv8

Booking Form

Cultiv8 are crossing the Eastern border into Norfolk on the 20th June.

Join us for a tour of the new innovative dairy unit at Houghton Hall, run by Evolution Farming. A company who strive to drive profit through innovation.

We will then be heading over to Wiveton Hall to meet Desmond MacCarthy, star of BBC2’s Normal for Norfolk. We will take a tour of the house and farm with Desmond before heading to the Wiveton Cafe for Dinner.

The cost of the day £40pp this includes the visits, the meal and a drink at Wiveton Hall.

Questions and completed forms to Cultiv8@eastofengland.org.uk

Booking Form

Deadline for booking 8/6/2018


Bursary announced for members to attend RASC conference in Canada

By | Cultiv8, News

The East of England Agricultural Society is delighted to announce the opening of the RASC conference bursary applications. This year the East of England Agricultural Society has openings for two Members to attend the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Conference in which takes place in November.

The Bi-annual conference takes place in a different Commonwealth Nation each time and this year the conference is to be held in Edmonton, Canada. The two successful bursary applicants will attend both the next generation conference and the main conference and also receive flights and accommodation as part of the package.

The East of England Agricultural Society supports the continued progression of individuals within the industry and believes that the RASC conference will provide a great source of knowledge for those who receive the Bursary.

The 2016 conference took Cultiv8 members Tom Martin and Amelia Rome to Singapore for the conference, and both have flourished on the knowledge learned at the event. Tom’s trip to Singapore sparked the ‘Facetime a Farmer’ initiative that has swept through the agricultural social media world over the course of the last year and how know been picked up by LEAF.

Bursary applications are open until the 3rd of August. The application process requires the candidate to pitch why they would benefit from the Bursary and the impact it would likely have on themselves and the Society. Applications will be judged by a panel appointed by the East of England Agricultural Society.

For more information, including specifics on how to apply please visit www.EastofEngland.org.uk/rasc18 , Email RTrolove@EastofEngland.org.uk or call 01733 234451

Saxby's Cider Shop

Cultiv8 Visit- I am a Cider Drinker…

By | Cultiv8

Written by Claire Wirght, Cultiv8 Member

One of the best bits about being a member of Cultiv8 is the chance to get out and about to visit inspiring rural businesses. The March meeting was no exception as we got the chance to visit Saxby’s Cider near Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Philip Saxby welcomed us all to the farm and explained how the diversification had arisen mostly by accident when he was approached to grow apples for a juice manufacturer; he decided instead to plant some apple trees and have a go at producing cider. To his own admission the first few attempts were pretty rough and undrinkable. He then attended a cider making (you don’t brew cider!) course and the results were a resounding hit.

All the apples are pressed on the farm before being left to ferment; the end product is then sent away to be bottled at a dedicated plant in the West Country as the same bottling line cannot be used for beer and cider.

Production has expanded in recent years and the range of ciders now includes the popular fruit flavoured ciders. This involves adding natural flavour to the original apple cider rather than relying on artificial sweeteners and colourings. As a result the ciders are suitable for those with gluten intolerance; as no finings are added during the production process the cider is also suitable for vegans.  Needless to say Philip is very fussy about where he sources these additional fruit ingredients and the strawberries and plums come from Herefordshire while the rhubarb comes from Yorkshire.

The latest addition to the products is Slider, a potent mixture of cider and the gin infused sloes that are a by-product of the sloe gin manufacturing at Warner Edwards’ distillery!

After the talk there was a chance to visit the small on-site shop for a tasting session. I can testify that the original cider, the plum cider and the rhubarb cider were all delicious; although I wasn’t brave enough to try the Slider without a mixer!

We all clanked away carrying many bottles of our favourite ciders and I think we can safely say that we are all cider drinkers now….

East of England Placeholder

Cultiv8 – What’s On In March?

By | Cultiv8

We have 2 core events for our members this month, a tour of Saxby’s Cider at Farndish and members are also invited to the Shuttleworth Lecture, with guest speaker Sir Peter Kendall. Details for both events can be found below. Please note both events need to be booked in advance.

There is a £10pp cost for the tasting, £5 of which will be given back in the form of a voucher to spend in the Saxby’s shop, the Shuttleworth Lecture is free to attend.

Cultiv8- A Year in Review

By | Cultiv8

Cultiv8 managed to squeeze a lot into 2017, here is a recap of what we got up to throughout the year.

We kicked off the year with the Inaugural Cultiv8 Ball in February. Our theme was the Best of British and we were very impressed with the lengths that people went to with the decorate your own table competition!

Our Cultiv8 Ball Flyer

March was a busy month, we started out with a meeting with Gary Waterfall, who came to talk to the group about his experiences in the RAF and related everything back to managing people and yourself. This was a fascinating talk and everyone went away with something to think about.

Later on in March a number of Cultiv8 members attended the Shuttleworth Lecture, where Charles Shropshire talked through his views on Brexit, and we rounded the month off with an inspiring talk from our very own Tom Martin, who talked to us about his experience when he travelled to the RASC conference in Singapore through a Cultiv8 grant.

In April Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and the Cambridgeshire Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) joined us to talk about rural crime, what we can do to help combat it and how Cambridgeshire is more advanced in rural policing than our neighbouring counties.

Farm Walk at Thurlow Estate

May was a real eye opener when we visited Johnsons of Old Hurst. A farm that has built on its success and reputation through diversification and thinking outside the box, we took a tour around the farm which is populated with buffalo, red deer, ostrich and crocodiles we also took a look around the farm shop, tea room and steak house. Members were also invited to attend the Societies Farm Walk around Thurlow Estate, a farm based on a Second World War bomber airfield, using a former hanger as part of their impressively sized grain store.

In June a Special Interest Group visited Dawn Meats at Cardington to walk the production line and hear about the supply chain of both cattle and sheep before and after they the Cardington site. We also heard about the reach of the Dawn Meats brand throughout Europe.

July involved a visit to Milton Estate for a tour around the Stables and Kennels, including the striking roundhouse in the stable yard currently acting as a tack room. We also heard about how the Fitzwilliam Hunt work with farmers across the Estate and beyond with both the hunting and the removal of deadstock.

Tom Martin & Amelia Rome in Singapore at RASC conference, funded by Cultiv8

Syngenta helped us kick start September with a special interest group focused on how selection of spray nozzles can improve efficacy and reduce wastage. Our main meeting for September was a tour of CN Seeds at Ely where we heard about the work that they put into plant breeding and producing seeds for the market.

Jane King, CEO of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) came to talk to Cultiv8 about the work that the AHDB are involved with and what has changed within the board over the past few years. Jane also covered her career journey including her time as Editor at the Farmers Weekly.

October also saw the launch of the Cultiv8 benchmarking group. In partnership with the AHDB our members have the opportunity to record their home farm results on the FarmBench system in order to make comparisons and analyse what improvements can be made to members business at home.

We also ventured beyond the East of England borders to Westminster for a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a meeting with Baroness Byford and the opportunity to watch the House of Lords in session.

Cultiv8 visit Johnsons of Old Hurst in May

Novembers visit was a tour around the Dodson & Horrell factory in Islip, where we saw the extent of the business they are running, making everything from insect feed to horse feed. The efficiency required to continue sustainably manufacturing the products is impressive, as is the drive for business development and expansion.

We rounded off the year in the Northampton Suite at the Showground with a social, to accompany our mulled wine and mince pies we sampled crocodile steaks, zebra steaks and wild boar burgers.

Jane King talk (photo Lisa Martin)

Amongst all of this we also launched an award where we fund a member of Cultiv8 to attend the Oxford Farming Conference, two of our members were finalists in the Farm Business Awards and we had a lot of members take up the discounted ticket on offer for the East of England Farming Conference.

2017 was a busy year and we look forward to developing our programme further and finding some more exciting talks and visits for 2018!


More about Cultiv8






Ruth Trolove


01733 234451- Agriculture Extension

Cultiv8, East of England Showground, Peterborough, PE2 6XE


2017-18 Committee

Chairman- Rob Wilkinson

Vice Chairman- Charles Robinson, Harry Horrell

Committee- Tom Arthey, Ben Beazley, Hannah Darby, Jamie Mashall-Roberts, Amy Panton, Peter Sharpley, Claire Wright

Tim Scrivener - East of England Agricultural Society

Cultiv8 Guest Blog: Cultiv8 visit to Johnsons of Old Hurst by Claire Wright

By | Cultiv8, News

Having been raised on a childhood diet of Crocodile Dundee films I snapped at the chance to visit a crocodile farm for the May Cultiv8 meeting.

Unfortunately my vision of a beautiful, warm, sunny evening didn’t quite come to fruition as we gathered under leaden skies at Church Farm in Old Hurst for the introduction to the farm by Andy Johnson and his sons. The story of how they developed from an ordinary mixed farm into what we see today is a fascinating tale of near disaster and being in the right place at the right time.

We started the tour in the shop, which boasts the largest deli counter in the UK offering a range of butchery products, cooked meats and cheeses to their loyal clientele. The rain had not abated as we clambered aboard Landrovers and trailers for our visit to see the unusual livestock kept on the farm, which is all sold in some shape or form through the farm shop or restaurants.

We started with the herds of red and fallow deer that were happily grazing in an outlying field. It was then off to see the Asian buffalo that provide the family with some management headaches given their enormous strength which makes containing them into winter housing a challenge! Heading back towards the farm yard we nervously headed over to the ostrich enclosure (tales of their rather unpredictable behaviour ringing in our ears, but some of us reassured by the fact they only saw male visitors as a threat!) to get up close and personal with these large birds. I have to be honest I found them more unsettling than I had thought as they crowded round the vehicles to get at the feed, watching us carefully with their beady eyes!

Thoroughly soaked thanks to the unpredictable summer weather it was great to get inside the Crocodile House and dry off in the warmth of their habitat. The crocodiles first arrived at Church Farm to aid in disposing of butchery waste but have since become an attraction in their own right. Using only a stockman’s board Andy happily strolled around the beach, moving their tails out of his way without a second thought and cheerfully telling us all about Cuddles, Kisses & Sherbet not to mention the near misses and injuries he has sustained from their teeth! There are plans afoot to expand the Crocodile House further to eventually house 200 crocodiles rather than the six. This would allow the

We finished our grand tour of the farm in the brand new Steak House. This has been built over two floors in the hope that the popularity of this restaurant as an eatery in the county will really take off. The steak house restaurant has experienced some teething problems with kitchen staff but is now on a stronger footing providing a sophisticated, safari themed place where diners can enjoy produce that truly comes from the farm to their fork.

There is a saw blade hanging in the foyer of the steakhouse with a motto emblazoned on it. This reads ‘The brave may not live forever; but the cautious never live at all’ – this for me sums up the philosophy of the whole farm and is testament to the family having the courage to take advantage of a changing market place and not being scared to try something that others say can’t be done!

Written by Claire Wright, Cultiv8 Committee member and Surveyor for CLA East

You can follow Claire on twitter: @claeastsurveyor 

Cambs Countryside Watch Logo

Cultiv8 Join the Fight Against Rural Crime

By | Cultiv8, News

For our April meeting we were lucky enough to receive a talk from Stefan Gidlow of Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and Sergeant Richard Jackson who heads up Cambridgeshire police forces, Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT).

This was a captivating meeting that sparked some well thought questions and comments from the Cultiv8 members and certainly made us think about how we approach rural crime both at home and within our communities.

What you may not realise about the Cambridgeshire County, is that we are very privileged to have schemes such as the Countryside Watch and RCAT, as over the border for example in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, they have fewer resources and less man power committed to combatting rural crime.

Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch are a non-profit organisation who’s bottom line goal is to reduce rural crime within the county. The organisation works closely with a number of organisations like the NFU and CLA as well as local police. Pressure on the police from members within the Countryside Watch helped secure the formation of the RCAT team.

Below are a few tips we picked up at the meeting for protecting your farm:

  • Report everything

Even if it’s just £50 worth of diesel missing from your farm truck, reporting it to Countryside watch or the police can help police establish patterns and build intelligence.

The process of reporting a crime will not affect your insurance, it is down to you to inform your insurers and make claims on reported crimes.

  • Back to basics

Keep everything locked up. Along with fly tipping, trailer theft is on the rise nationally, make sure everything is stored as securely as can be. If you buy second hand it is always worth contacting the manufacturer to see if they have a database to register your name against the machinery serial number.

Something as simple as a 2 concrete filled barrels with an RSJ across the middle can deter Hare coursers, but can be easily moved for access for farming operations.

Nature cameras offer a good alternative to fixed camera systems both in function and price.

  • Keep a Record

Stefan suggested buying an SD card and taking an afternoon to go round your farm and take pictures of your kit and the serial numbers. You can pop this in an envelope in the bottom drawer so that you have something to fall back on should anything go missing. Serial numbers are one of the most useful things to police when tracking stolen objects

  • Fly tipping

There are teams of criminals that will offer you cash to store waste on your farm, possible disguised as bales. They promise to come back and remove it but won’t come back and you will likely be the one footing the bill to have it removed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

Who to call

999-Crime in progress

101- Reporting a crime

0800 555 111- Cambridgeshire Crime Stoppers (anonymous)

 Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch

Those of you that are based within the Cambridgeshire area, Countryside watch can help both you and your local community. As well as keeping you up to date on what is going on in the area, they can offer advice, tagging events and even some product discounts.


Fenland, Huntingdon & Peterborough- Stefan Gidlow 07890 455959

East and South Cambridgeshire- Ellen Muirhead 07952 735158