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I'm a first generation farmer - not with any farming background - trying to produce a quality product in a competitive and ageing industry.
Agriculture has become heavily industrialised but I want to take it back. This is my pilot project to produce traditional English meat from rare breeds of livestock (currently in decline) in a free range, high welfare way. Happy animals produce quality products.
I've gained lots of experience within the industry, gained a degree in Agriculture and Farm Business Management and successfully set up my own farming business with cattle and pigs. I was shortlisted for Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year (2015). Now, I want to produce a high welfare, traditional product saving Britain's rare breeds of livestock by turning them into a saleable product.
I currently produce native breeds of pigs which I sell direct to the public and also into farm shops.
I also produce Aberdeen Angus and Limousin cattle and I sell the calves to other farmers to fatten.
The above has given me the experience of running my own livestock. I now want to pilot a project into producing only rare and traditional breed livestock. These breeds have went out of fashion and I want to bring them back for their flavour, hardiness and the extensive nature in which you can farm them. No fertiliser or pesticides - just grass, hay and some barley, the way nature intended.
Commercial pig farming has moved to crossbred foreign breeds which produce lean, tasteless meat sold cheap. I want to give my livestock the right to roam, have extremely high welfare standards and save some of the breeds Britain is about to lose. I want them to eat traditional species of grass including clover, farm them in harmony with the environment and give them the best natural life possible.
I don't claim farm subsidy and I started my livestock off with only 6 rare sheep and built up slowly. Agriculture is hard to get into as it is so capital intensive. Therefore, I want to run a pilot project into using SOLELY British breeds of cattle and transforming these into a fantastic product.
To keep the capital cost down, I will use bi-products from the UK dairy industry - heifer calves - which have been sired by native, traditional or rare breed bulls. I will then rear these for meat or for heifers I will rear them until they are old enough to give their own calf.
I am passionate about farming - I LOVE IT! But its very challenging in all ways. But I am focused and know what I want to produce therefore I WILL do it.
It is very important to me to produce a good quality, high welfare and happy animals as this translates into a high quality product.
Being a donor will be a BIG help. It will aid me to run my pilot into native breeds of livestock so I can gain some scale and hopefully sell a top quality product.
- 20 x calves @ £200 each = £4000 (Bred from the dairy industry to Aberdeen Angus, Hereford or Shorthorn bulls)
- Milk costs @ £20 per head = £400
- Straw @ £10 per head = £200
- Misc costs (vet/med & haulage) = £400
(I have the grazing and the shed to do the rest)
Donors will get the chance to sample either my:
Grassfed native and rarebreed livestock
My freerange traditional pork (rare and traditional breeds of pigs)
Tweet me: @MattyCSharp
LinkedIn: Matthew Sharp
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