Thursday 22 February, 2024

In your field: Alice Dyer and Adam Lockwood - 'Be stubborn on vision, but flexible on details'

This month marks a year since we moved to our farm on a long-term lease with Warwickshire County Council — a dream that felt probably out of reach when we started our business five years ago.

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In your field: Alice Dyer and Adam Lockwood - 'Be stubborn on vision, but flexible on details'

As our time of being FG columnists comes to an end, it feels like a good opportunity to reflect on the past five years and things we wish we knew before we got started.

Jeff Bezos is not only good at e-commerce, but he also occasionally pops out the odd bit of advice that rings true.

It is slightly cliched, but his quote ‘be stubborn on vision, but flexible on detail,' is a good expression of our journey.

Start

At the start, it was easy to think a picturesque, ring-fenced farm of grade 1 soils with irrigation would pop up, but realistically, whole farm lets are as rare as hen's teeth.

When reality hit, we began looking at soil maps and door knocking on farms we thought might consider letting out some land to us.

Every farmer we met gave us the time of day. Which leads me to the next point — be brave and be nice. Speak to anyone and everyone. Share your story and others will keep sharing it for you, leading to new opportunities.

The farming community is tight knit and loves a trier. We also learned the value of having a good, solid, long-term plan.

We started writing our business plan while still living in Italy and despite the twists and turns both our lives and the world has taken, it has kept us on track ever since and given us an end goal to always keep our focus.

Speaking of keeping focus, it is very easy to get caught up in politics, and how screwed-over farmers really are.

Of course there is a time and place for lobbying, but if you spend all day mulling it over, you end up feeling bitter and miserable, so concentrate your energy on the things within your business that you can control.

Only you will know your vision and no farming business is the same — someone will always prefer their John Deere to your New Holland.

And finally, enjoy it and make time for fun, whether that is on or off the farm.

Those spontaneous fish and chip suppers together in the field during a long day, have become fond memories and took the edge of some of the long hours and isolation.

Farming is hard and has no end, so recognising and celebrating the small wins is important.

Before you know it those small steps are mapping out exactly what was in your grand plan.

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