Virgin Money has helped one Lincolnshire farmer finance the purchase of 212 acres, as well as secure a loan for a 3,000-tonne grain store and a new cutting-edge crop sprayer, safeguarding the future of their farming enterprise.
Building a farming business that is an attractive and profitable offer for the next generation, requires investment, determination, and ever-increasing efficiencies. David and Jane Pridgeon, along with David’s parents, run Pridgeon Farms Limited near Chapel St. Leonards. They have spent 15 years building a successful soft fruit and cereal business and a farm shop expanding over 20 acres.
Recent investments in land, and machinery utilising the latest technology to streamline production and reduce labour, are all a part of the strategy to ensure a fit for purpose business which will withstand future challenges.
Commenting on their recent business developments, David said: “The most important aim going forward is to ensure sustainability for the future. My father has worked hard to create the foundation to build on and I would like to continue this for future generations.
“We’re always looking for opportunities and have expanded through a range of land options; owned, rented, contracted and shared farms. Over time, our contract farming agreements have turned into rentals, which have provided us with much more security. Our recent developments are all about long-term viability. We have invested in the land and infrastructure to enable us to grow and improve efficiencies.”
The soft fruit enterprise has required continual investment in poly tunnels, and growing and irrigation systems, to create an infrastructure that utilises technologies and is less dependent on staff resources. In order to do this, it has been imperative that the Pridgeons had guidance and support from someone who not only understood the business but was interested in their ideas going forward.
Steve Thomas, Agricultural Relationship Manager at Virgin Money, commented: “The Pridgeon family have been working with Virgin Money for almost 15 years and I feel we’re very much a part of their team. It’s key to the success of any business that their bank is supportive, and this can only be achieved with good communication and understanding.
“David and Jane, and David’s parents, are all very knowledgeable farmers and are very committed to succeed. They saw the potential in soft fruit and, having established that enterprise, are now the suppliers of 150 acres of fruit to regional wholesalers, farm shops and green grocers. It’s an amazing achievement and one they are continually looking to foster.”
Virgin Money is committed to working with customers to ensure that they have a strong understanding of each business so that they can help plan and advise for future growth.