In part one, we spoke to Chris Acaster about his background and why he decided to enter into the farming industry and followed this up with part two, focusing on the route Chris took to enter the industry.
Now working in partnership with his brother, Mark, at A&A (Acaster and Acaster) Farm Services, focusing on cross compliance and contracting, Chris started at the bottom and worked his way up.
We spoke to Chris about his plans for expanding the business in the future and how he plans on achieving these goals.
A: I started out primarily doing the consultancy work and that now forms the main winter time occupation along with trading straw.
In spring we start contract work, planting potatoes and then we start chopping grass from early May through untill harvest when we get our straw stored.
We go back harvesting spuds in the autumn and planting wheat and grass.
There is obviously reseeding and spraying work littered throughout the year, but as a general rule, if it is cold and wet outside, we are inside the office or workshop. If the weather is fit for us to be out, then we are out somewhere.
It doesn't matter whether it's day or night you have to be ready to go all round the clock in this game.
A: In the future we will be expanding all areas of the business.
As part of delivering a complete nutrient planning service for manures, slurries and granular fertiliser, we are looking to provide a one stop shop for dealing with this practically, efficiently, and supplying the necessary paperwork so the farmer doesn't have any concerns regarding the rules and calculations.
If all goes to plan, this service should be online in the next 12 months.
We have struggled with people taking us seriously. It's a common problem that many companies expand faster than they can budget and consequentially go bust. So for us it is a fine line between growing quickly enough to provide the services, but this is made extra tricky by the lack of confidence from the public, resulting in fewer orders and a lower income.
We believe managing finance is of the utmost important.
Getting deep in repayments every month can sink you if your clients don't pay as quick as you would like.
The forage harvesting is our main focus at present. Poor dairy, beef and sheep prices have caused farmers to reassess their spending choices and providing a more cost effective solution is the one selling point that cannot be ignored in the present climate.
It's not about undercutting the competitors, it is providing a better solution to the client.
A: We have recently started a partnership arrangement which enables us to provide more services than we can presently.This has made a significant impact for both sides.
The basic concept is you share your customer base with a competitor, which most business wouldn't dare risk. But as we each have our own unique services and overlap minimally, this system works really well for us.
They provide the extra muscle when we are short handed and it allows us to take on bigger contracts than a one man band could ever do.
It has proved more successful for us having this arrangement than trying to find a skilled labour when you need one.
We still retain our independence as a brand, but partnership working is a good option provided both parties bring something to the table.
We have multiple partnerships varying from swapping a few favours to machinery sharing and utilising shed space.
Chris got in touch with us here at Getting Started via Twitter: If you have something to say, say it with Getting Started!