Andy Venables: Dairy Farmer and Marketing Consultant
Andy Venables turned his back on a career as a city worker excelling in digital marketing in favour of starting a new life in agriculture.
He says: “Sitting in traffic for up to three hours a day commuting into Manchester gives you plenty of thinking time.
“It was one particularly lovely sunny spring morning when I was sat bumper to bumper on the M60 that I asked myself, ‘what am I doing this for?’”
Having grown up on his family’s dairy farm, Andy, 31, decided to pursue a career in London; Melbourne, Australia; and then Manchester across 10 years before his head started to turn at what opportunities agriculture could offer.
“I was particularly excited by the level of technology emerging from the sector.
“To non-farmers, I feel farming is perceived as behind the times when actually there is more technology embraced in farming than most would imagine. For example, GPS was in tractors way before most cars.
“Farmers have to look at efficiencies to ensure their business remains profitable, so if there is technology which will help them become more efficient, they will invest. In dairy, heat monitoring systems are now widely used.
“I felt there was a massive opportunity for our farm business to use technology more to improve efficiencies on-farm.”
Andy’s farm now works with Map Of Agriculture as a UK demonstration farm to help them develop new products to support farmers.
“I came back to the farm almost two years ago and, since then, we have grown the dairy business and started a new diversification business, Hillsgreen, an independent consultancy which specialises in helping to grow businesses in the rural sector.”
Developing skills to help him stand out from the crowd has been an area Andy has enjoyed exploring.
“Working as part of the Co-op Pioneers scheme has been hugely beneficial and brought together like-minded young professionals to provide business training which has a focus on agriculture business.”
For Andy, one of the key benefits in working in agriculture is variety.
He says: “Working in agriculture is never dull. There is always plenty to do and no two days are ever the same. I have no regrets.”