New JVFG member Nick Skipworth explains why a new Joint Venture & joining JVFG works for him & his farm.
“It was a conversation with my agronomist that first led me to JVFG. I had some important decisions to make about the future of my farm. Setting up a new Joint Venture with a neighbour was the best thing to do.

Flying high

I am an airline pilot. With a change of job to long haul flights I’m spending quite a number of days away from the farm at a time.
I met with JVFG chairman Antony Pearce whose farm is just five miles from mine and from discussion our new Joint Venture business has taken shape.

Working out the joint venture solution 

If I was to continue to try to direct the farm myself I would have needed to employ a manager for the day to day operation. Through the Joint Venture I get management from Antony at what is, in effect, a very reduced rate.
Having decided to sell the farm’s herd of seventy Simmentals there was no longer a stockman on the farm. My arable worker was the only other member of staff but now with the Joint Venture he no longer works in solitude but has the machinery operator from the other venture in the business and they now are a team.

More than just a meeting of minds

Analysing the numbers through benchmarking with JVFG

Analysing the numbers through benchmarking with JVFG

At the first JVFG group meeting I went to, I was very interested in the costings shared in the group, especially on the machinery.  All farmers like a nice shiny new machine but with the true costs laid bare you can feel the brake on unnecessary spending.
Another factor I noticed is that sense of every one of us in the JVFG is facing the same problems, be that blackgrass or maintaining a dedicated, reliable team. In fact it’s good to be with farmers who value their teams. Whatever the machinery or the soil type, without dedicated, motivated staff you cannot achieve your best.

Amongst the best

The farms that Antony Pearce and I are putting into this Joint Venture are very similar: same size, soil types and cropping – winter wheat, spring beans and oilseed rape.
In JVFG I think I’ve found some of the best farmers in our industry. They are forward-thinking and willing to try new processes and practices. They are brave enough to share their figures and be honest about the real costs they incur and what they’re doing to reduce them – and are up front about if and what they succeed in doing better.
The pub discussion we had after the reveal of the latest set of JVFG benchmarked results was great. It’s a refreshing change from the usual sort of pub talk when a farmer will ‘talk up’ what is being achieved.
With JVFG I’ve got the tools to be able to benchmark my business in joint Venture and look forward to the challenge of making it the best it can be.”