Adam Henson stunned as couple take ‘huge financial risk’ for struggling farm ‘Goodness me!
Adam Henson discusses Jess and Will's plans for their farm
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Adam Henson was in the Tamar Valley of Cornwall visiting a couple of farmers who lived in the village of Bohetherick in a recent episode of Our Family Farm Rescue. He was visiting Will and Jess Jeans who had a 200-acre farm but their livestock farming wasn’t cutting a profit. But in order to get back into the black, they suggested alpaca trekking, something which Adam thought was a “huge financial risk”.
Speaking about their situation, Jess told viewers: “If Will and I just relied purely on the income from the cattle and the sheep, there’s isn’t an income. You couldn’t put food on the table.
Will added: “The consequences of it not making tough money are fairly simple really, we sell off our assets and we go off and do something else. It would break my heart to do it.”
When Adam arrived, the owners showed them around their land and he asked: “So tell me about the farm then?”
“We’re running about 100 cows at the minute,” Will explained and Jess added: “We bought in 30 sheep this autumn so they’re going to be lambing for the first time in the spring.”
“And are cows your primary source of income?” The presenter wondered and Will said: “Yes, I don’t see that changing. I wouldn’t like to not have cattle, I am a cattle farmer at heart.”
Jess continued: “The cows are always, I think, going to be the heart of the business and it’s about finding other things that compliment it and bringing in more money. But one of it wouldn’t work if the cows weren’t here.”
Adam commented: “I think that’s sensible having the cows at the core of it but you do need other streams to support them.”
The presenter told those watching at home: “As with many small family farms, the livestock alone isn’t bringing in enough money to live off, so Will and Jess will have to get a little more adventurous to bring in more income.
“Whilst this farm has plenty of pasture for cattle grazing, it also has orchards and woodlands that can’t be used for their livestock.”
He sat down with the farmers in their kitchen and said: “So when it comes to the business of the farm, just tell me a little about your income streams and how well they are doing.”
“Our income stream is sort of based around beef cattle, so we sell the calves the cows have,” Will revealed and Adam questioned: “Are you making money?”
“I think at the moment we are just about a break even,” Jess replied.
As for the last five years, Will said only “two have been profitable” with one year they broke even and “other two years we lost the profits we made on the good years”.
Will has even had to take another job at a local agricultural college to earn more money.
But Will taking on extra work wasn’t what surprised Adam.
“We live in this absolutely stunning place and we want to share a bit of that,” Will said and Jess continued: “We’re going to start bringing people onto the farm and showing them first hand what we do. Talking to people about all the environmental work we do and we’re planning on doing that through the medium of alpaca trekking!”
Adam replied: “Goodness me! Have you ever farmed alpacas before?”
They planned on making a pen for the alpacas in the cherry orchard, as well as a little pop-up shop and picnic area.
To get this all started, the couple had to dip into their shrinking savings but they hoped to keep the spend to around £12,000.
“It’s a big financial risk and one they’ll have to take it they want the farm to succeed,” Adam said.
Adam Henson’s Our Family Farm Rescue airs on Tuesday evenings on Channel 5.
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