Future Farmers - how are they doing it?

floating farm Beladon

Four very different farmers - from deer to microgreens, floating to rewilding - spoke about their businesses and how they have adapted to capture the needs of modern society. Diverse as they are, nutritional food and embracing challenges are key to all four.

Stjin Baan of Dutch family business, Koppert Cress, specialises in producing living micro greens for chefs. Growing more than 60 varieties with flavours like radish, mustard and broccoli, Koppert Cress strongly believes that good food is crucial to a healthy existence. As well as travelling the world looking for plants that can enhance a chef's dish, they have explored the role of food in good health and reducing the risk of cancer, for example eating more tomatoes which can counter sunburn. They have also opened a restaurant to nurture this 'green pharmacy' as well as their staff. Challenges have not always come from the most obvious places. Fined by the state for saying broccoli was healthy (without scientific certification), Stjin’s father suggested the police to imprison him to make his point. 

Record-breaking sheep shearer, Matt Smith, from New Zealand, took on his wife's family farm in Cornwall when they returned together to the UK. Overcoming the challenges of investment, learning a new trade and the risk of disease, he and Pip have built up a deer enterprise and are focusing on the power of good genetics to build their business and produce good quality, lean meat for the consumer.

After a glut of good crops and then a struggle to make dairy farming work, Charles Burrell starting looking at his farm landscape differently. Rewilding became a word and ethos they could relate to as a family. Scrubland has been brought back to life by browsers and grazers eating at different levels and making way for species to thrive; cattle, horses and pigs co-exist with a different herd structure and all something different to give; and Tamworth pigs have brought back butterflies in droves; and carbon in the soil has doubled. Tourism has become a major part of the business and pans to make the estate's beef worth £500,000 continue to make the per acre worth of the estate well above the national average.

From wild spaces to water space, Holland's Beladon make constructions on water, from floating hotels to floating farms. With 70% of the earth as water, Minke Van Wingerden and her business partners are finding new space to counter the growing world population and urbanisation which is taking up land space. Most cities only have enough food to sustain its population for two days, which can be extended with floating farms on water around the city. Alluding to the cost of a floating farm, which can be for dairy, chickens or vegetables, Minke said they like to view it as a business deal for Mother Nature not for money.  Find out why a cow is really a biomass upcycle machine in the full presentation.

Watch the full presentations:

Matthew Smith, Deer Farmer

Stijn Baan, Koppert Cress

Sir Charles Burrell, Knepp Estate

Minke Van Wingerden, Floating Farms

Sponsored by Corteva Agriscience