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Peter Chapman: An offering of advice alongside a final goodbye to this column

The final piece of advice to you from Peter Chapman and a somewhat emotional goodbye.

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Resilience is the buzzword used by many industry experts to describe a business’s ability to cope with volatility and it has certainly been required in spades by most farming sectors recently. If there is one aim I have always had in helping to develop our business over the last 22 years it is to make it resilient especially with our remoteness from markets and the adverse weather we often face. As I have often stated the wind turbines have been a game changer for us, but along with the poultry, pigs, cattle and arable I feel we have created a model that can withstand almost anything that can be thrown at us. This year’s weather has been a case in kind with the cold dull days we have had looking likely to affect the arable harvest. The calves have also struggled and don’t have the bloom of previous years but it has been relatively windy so returns overall should be OK. The pullet rearing enterprise has also taken advantage of cheaper grain so all in all I am not too despondent.

 

This is where I feel that if I could offer any advice to hard pressed dairy, sheep or arable farmers it would be to broaden your business base and diversify. A 200 cow dairy farm with some form of renewables or 12,000 bird free range egg business is a totally different proposition than one without these other income streams. I know it takes money but interest rates have been at an all time low and it has been a chance to lock into cheap money. However, with a change from the government in supporting renewables and interest rates looking like rising these doors are slowly closing. Please lock in if you can before the door closes completely.

 

This is to be my last article after three and a half years . Hopefully I have given you a good insight into our business and maybe introduced something different. I have a few thanks I would like to make before I go. Firstly it would be to my Dad and late Grandad (both Peter) who have provided the platform and opportunity for me to have such a diverse and exciting business .

 

Most importantly though would be to my long suffering wife of 20 years, Grace, who has given me three fantastic children and puts up with my fluctuating emotions during busy times of the year. She turns her hand to any job I ask her to do and is always a great sounding board for new ideas. Love you loads Grace. I couldn’t do it without you.

 

Peter Chapman, Aberdeenshire

eter Chapman farms 432 hectares (1,067 acres) near Fraserburgh. The mainly arable farm also has suckler cows and pullet rearing enterprises as well as four Enercon 800kW wind turbines. Peter is a Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland one-year director and is on the Ringlink board.

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