Matthew Rouston, a final year Agriculture with Crop Management student, has been discovering the ways in which diversifying on a farm can be beneficial to growth.
Having undertaken a placement year with Thomas Banks and Partners, Matthew worked on a 3,000 acre arable farm in Cambridge that had diversified in several ways to help growth. With a wedding barn and a straw burner that produced hot water for the whole farm, Matthew observed how “when all linked together, they help each other out when they needed to”, increasing overall growth.
“The farm manager would communicate the ideas of how the wedding barn and the farm would help one another, using ideas to boost one another up." said Matthew “Business strategy and diversification is where the future is. Having multiple small businesses that build up the farm is exactly what I would like to pursue in the future.”
Matthew has great ambition for the next few years while maintaining a foot in education. He commented, “While being an agronomist sounds interesting, it’s not the path I want to follow. I’d love to do something like my placement year, run my own arable farm with some agronomist tasks on the side. Overall I’d love to manage my own farm.
“However, I don’t want to jump straight into management. I want to build up experience through working on another farm for a few years, building on my current skills and learn new ones on the way. That way, by testing out different techniques, I can manage a farm from a place of experience and justify best practice.”
Having not come from a background in farming, Matthew explored agriculture through the contracting work of his father, growing his interest in crops. With a love of harvest, moving over to BSc Agriculture with Crop Management after his first year was the best decision for him. Doing so has furthered his love of farming but also created a new passion project that has potential to be diversified into a business.
Matthew is a keen photographer, using GoPros and a drone to take images of the machinery he uses out on the farm. This passion is routed back in his own mother’s interest in photography, but also from the nature of carrying around a camera in your pocket!
Matthew spoke about why he loves agricultural photography, saying, “By making my own mounts, I get to see all the angles around the machinery, rather than just the perspective of being sat in the tractor. My cameras follow me everywhere I go, and I hope to make it grow into its own sustainable business project.”
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