Christopher Padfield - Post Formal Education - nurturing and growing talent?
I live on work on a 4th generation family farm on the Gloucestershire / Worcestershire border. It is a mixed farm consisting of a Beef fattening joint venture and growing combinable crops. We have been direct drilling all crops including maize for the last decade. The farm is entered into an HLS scheme which is central to our focus on creating wildlife habitat around the enterprise. We also run some stubble to stubble contracting.
After working abroad in Ghana, Guinea Bissau and France, I worked for a local agricultural college mainly assessing NVQ qualifications. I also achieved qualifications in Internal and External Verification and a PGCE (adult education). I then set up a small training company where we offer training services, mainly LANTRA and City and Guilds qualifications, aimed at the land-based skills sector.
When not working, I love riding motorbikes and drinking whisky. Not a great combination though a recent biking trip to Islay managed to get the best of both worlds.
I would like to thank all those supporting my Nuffield Scholarship, not least the Central Region Farmers Trust for their sponsorship, and my wife and parents for their support and backing.
Elaine froese - Canadian farm whisperer. July 5th and 6th
Elaine Froese is a professional speaker, writer and farm family coach who specializes in succession planning. Her expertise is sought after across Canada, and in the U.S. Elaine helps family businesses talk about the tough issues and act on them. She’s a catalyst for courageous conversations, new scenarios and more profitable businesses. She has a very down to earth approach but a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to discuss problems that affect most family farms - conflict, family succession planning, personal development. A Virginia Tech study of 400 farms found that farm family businesses that could communicate were 21% more profitable. Elaine lives on a farm with her husband, Wes, who runs Boissevian Select Seeds which is a family owned farm and seed cleaning operation started in 1971 and now run by Wes and Elaine Froese along with their son. The operation involves growing the seed, cleaning and certified seed sales including for export. The seed cleaning set up is impressive not only in the yard but also the colour sorter mounted in a lorry rig to go from farm to farm (often used to get ergot out of rye).
Wes farms 5000 acres growing a wide range of crops including rye, wheat, osr, soya, oats, flax and hemp. As you would expect there is some large equipment including two quadtracs, two JD combines both on dual wheels and a 60ft seedhawk drill. It was good of Wes to take time out to show me round, including a trip to a Hudderite Colony which is a rare privilege. It was interesting to talk on the way round the farm and when I asked Wes what were the two biggest threats to farms in Manitoba he replied with divorce and poor management.
It got me thinking about how much time farmers in the UK spend on choosing the right tractor, the cropping rotation, the design of feed rations compared to developing human relationships and skills, either in the home or workplace.
After working for the government in agricultural extension, Elaine trained as a coach at the Hudson Institute of Coaching and has developed her own reputation and resources. Coaching is about asking questions and discussing the undiscussable. I have yet to work through all the ideas, resources and quotes she gave me but below are a few points to ponder:
What does a good day look like to you?
Who is a man when he is no longer a farmer?
Workaholics are lazy in relationships (it is an avoidance strategy)
It is essential to clarify your expectations of others - you get the behaviour you accept
Farmers coming into a family farm want independence in their 20s, mastering success in their 30s, power and control in their 40s, quality of life in their 50s and leave a legacy and often a different role in their 60s.