February 12, 2022 - By Rosie Howe
Wondering what life on a farm is really like? How to get started? Or are just curious about what questions Marco and Erica have come up with this time? Watch what their new guest has to say himself on a brand new episode on Britalians TV, a show where they travel the world interviewing people from all walks of life.
In this episode, they meet with Tim May, an award winning regenerative farmer connected from his own farm, Kingsclere Estates, where they take care of the land in a regenerative way. Now, you may be wondering what this actually means, so I’ll explain it for you. Essentially, most farmers take a lot from the environment and use water and fertilizer to grow crops which then degrades the soil. Tim reverses this and wants to give back to the environment and remain sustainable because taking care of the land starts with taking care of the soil.
Who is Tim May?
Tim was always interested in farming as that is how he grew up and was inevitably going to be involved in his dad’s farm.
“How did you get into farming?” Marco and Erica ask, to which Tim reveals he is the 4th generation of farmers in his family on his farm! He says that some farm owners keep it to themselves for too long before giving it to the next generation to introduce their own ideas, whereas he was lucky that his dad allowed him to take charge in the cropping part of the farm when he had finished university, from there he has gained more and more responsibility and now owns the farm. Marco and Erica also asked “How did your dad decide to give the farm to you” to which Tim replied “it’s kind of unspoken” so in other words it’s ‘normal’ just to hand down your assets when you are no longer capable of looking after them…
Tim has a very busy life with 3 kids and on average working 7am till 7pm on the farm although this varies day to day with some days working through the night! He’s a hard worker and could possibly want an ‘easier’ job, Marco asked him this and he admitted that he “wouldn’t be very good at having a boss, wouldn’t be very good at dealing with customers, I’m quite happy in my own little world”. He also said he would always choose farming as he’s practical and creative, farming allows him to be outside all day in the sun; “farming comes along with a whole host of things”, this including engineering and accounting. Growing up around this environment has led to him loving what he does and unable to imagine life a different way.
Want to hear about the farm itself? Well, you’re in luck!
Tim May- “We have 450 Cows and 1200 Chickens at Kingsclere Estates”
What is a regenerative farm? Well farms usually produce things to sell, a regenerative one turns sunlight into energy which they can then sell, this could be fruit, veg, electricity etc. Tim is being sustainable and wants to give back to the environment by treating his plants organically and using sunlight as his main source of power, infact Tim told Marco and Erica that the human race only uses 1.5 hours of sunlight throughout the whole year, we are very inefficient!
The farm itself holds 450 cows, 1200 chickens, 700/800 sheep, bee hives and much more- “that must be very noisy!”
When asked how many workers he has, he explains that every worker is a partner- not romantically… They all have their own businesses and Tim has integrated them into his farm for example the dairy man has his own business ‘the roaming dairy’, most workers have their own enterprise which allows Tim to broaden his farms facilities without having the stress of sourcing his own employees. Even his family members have had their businesses integrated, his wife has a counseling business, one sister has a wedding venue business and the other a horse racing enterprise- he also rents out buildings on the farm for other enterprises… this sounds like one big farm! Make sure to keep an eye out on Britalians TV to see Erica and Marco visiting the Kingsclere Estates.
The next question is a much lighter topic than business… “If you feed the cows strawberries, will they produce strawberry flavoured milk?” Tim quickly responded “No” and continued to laugh but did say that the milk flavour can be affected, if the cow ate too much of one thing it would start to taste the same (in some cases). For example if the cow ate too much chichory the milk would start to taste bitter- not what you want your milk to taste like. Marco then asked, “could you not sell it as ‘chicory milk’?” Tim then explains that he has to abide by the ‘red tractor’ regulations, which can be spotted on some products in supermarkets. This has regulations over the quality and production of the produce; he also has to follow stricter regulations as he is listed as organic.
Finally Marco and Erica asked if setting up a farm is expensive…keep reading to find out!
How to Become an Entrepreneur in Farming
Is setting up a farm expensive? “It can be, the land and machinery can be very expensive”, Tim suggests that an inexpensive way to get into farming is to add to an existing farm. This way you are becoming part of one without all the costs of setting up; setting a business up at a farm is best way to start out, for example Tim doesn’t charge rent to the guy who owns the chickens as they provide a service for him, they essentially follow the cows and clean their manure by picking out the bugs (this is how they get their nutrients), the manure is now clean- well as clean as it can be!
Another tip Tim suggests is having an abundance mindset, this is how he thinks, it means you have abundant ways of making money/ opportunities, for Tim he walks around his farm thinking of all the paths he could go down to add to what he already has. Many individuals are so focused on what they already have that they miss out on so many opportunities which could be very beneficial. Being open-minded is very important when you have your own business.
Finally, Marco and Erica asked if Tim is currently facing any problems with his business, to which he admitted he is. He has realized that he needs more enterprises to be integrated into his existing farm so they can all work together and provide more services. They currently provide dairy cows, egg laying chickens and crops but would love to bring someone in that can add value to the milk, to make cheese or ice cream etc. Although they already offer lots of services, Tim is still thinking on how they can add more!
From speaking to Tim, it is clear that he is always onto the next thing to add value to his farm, to find out more on his mindset, home life and Kingsclere Estates watch the full interview which is airing on Britalians TV now! Are you wanting to set up a successful business or add to your existing one? Tim May is the man to go to…