A customer story on our approach
David and Sue Morgan, pig farmers, East Yorkshire
David and Sue Morgan bought their first farm in 1991 - a contract farm of 1,000 acres with 2 dairy units and 600 arable acres.
Not coming from a farming background he brought fresh thinking with him. But it also meant that the advice David wanted from us gave him some of the industry experience he lacked.
With a detailed financial plan securing the investment from us, we were positive from the start. However, David's first year ended in a way few could've predicted - with Black Wednesday and 18% interest rates.
As so often in farming, external factors can have profound implications on even the best run farms. With David's considerable borrowing such rates left his family worried they were facing bankruptcy. Then Britain exited the ERM, bank rates suddenly fell and grain and milk prices went up. Seizing the opportunity, it led to five years of sustained growth and strong performance for the Morgans.
Support to seize opportunities
Building on the opportunity, David Morgan used that performance to help fund buying his current farm in 1996. Although it was once a pig farm it required serious outlay to bring it back up to scratch. As he says, "We were very pleased to get backing - we'd borrowed quite a bit of money - but HSBC could see our track record and were very supportive". Starting with 800 pigs the farm now has 1,600 sows for contract rearing.
Pig farming is where it's easier to make or lose a lot of money than almost any other kind of farming. For instance, volatility in feed prices can be devastating when it accounts for 70% of your costs. So now the farm buys feed ahead.
Understanding that David is always happy to be approached with new ideas or industry know-how, we've helped in that respect, introducing a better way to buy grain direct from farmers.
A long lasting relationship
David Morgan's relationship with HSBC goes way back to the days of Midland Bank. Robbie, his Relationship Manager is the first person he talks to about any new business idea. As he says: "If you're confident with the people you're dealing with, and that they can see the risk as well as the potential gain, then most of the time our views are the same".
" Whenever we go to the bank with a proposition, they listen to us."
The pig farm has seen a lot spent on renovating and stocking. The industry itself is consolidating, driving production costs down, yet there is always the need to invest or be left behind. "Right now, the fattening side of the business - where we use third party contractors - needs upgrading to remain sustainable."
David and Sue and their three daughters Vicky, Rachel and Kate have the day-to-day practicalities of running a growing business, which we're also happy to help with. And beyond that, he owns a 150 acre arable farm and is now diversifying even further afield into commercial property, again an opportunity we support.
"Whenever we go to the bank with a proposition, they listen to us. If it's sensible for us, the chances are it's sensible for them."
To arrange a visit from one of our team, contact your local Agriculture Manager.
The Forward Planning booklet gives you all the insight you need to help prepare your farm budget with confidence.
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