Waddell's The Farm Fixer tonight at 10.35pm BBC One NI
Small family farms are in trouble. In order to survive they need to diversify and find additional ways to make money, but this needs strategic planning and business expertise. In The Farm Fixer, trouble-shooting businessman Nick Hewer turns his attention to struggling farmers. Tonight, Monday 3rd September, at 10.35pm on BBC One Northern Ireland.
“The small family farm is the backbone of the UK countryside. I wanted to use everything I had learnt, over the past 40 years of business, to help them come through this difficult time” - Nick Hewer
But his task is not an easy one. Farmers are notoriously stubborn and can be set in their ways and Nick’s direct, no-nonsense opinion is met with some wariness.
In this series Nick invests his time, knowledge and expertise to help eight farms. From projects as diverse as harvesting seaweed to brewing beer, producing flavoured pet water to entertaining cruise ship groups, Nick encourages the farms to move into areas of business completely new to them. He helps them to develop new products, create brands and find customers.
Nick goes back to his roots in Northern Ireland. His mother is originally from Bangor, Co. Down, and his Irish connections were further bolstered by his education at a school in Co. Kildare. As in many rural areas of the UK, Northern Ireland is full of small farms that have been passed down through the generations. But modern farming practices have changed. To succeed, especially with acreage under 200, takes imagination and a lot of hard work. Although the journey is bumpy at times, Nick has one mantra that he applies to every business situation; “doing nothing is not an option”.