Beauty Bhowmik of High Cleughearn Farm
In 2015, Beauty Bhowmik and her husband Devproteek, decided to change careers and move their family from London to East Kilbride to start a farm business. Being new to farming, Beauty contacted the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) for general advice and information on soil management. FAS encouraged her to apply for an Integrated Land Management Plan (ILMP) to get the best out of the new business. Now in their first year of rearing sheep, Beauty explains how funding help with an ILMP gave the business new vigour.
How did you get into farming? ‘It was always our dream to own a farmhouse and have room for all the family to live together. We have two young boys, both under 12, and wanted them to experience that kind of life. ‘I’m completely new to the farming sector, but my grandfather and my husband’s grandfather had farms in Bangladesh, where we’re from originally, so I had been exposed to that environment already. They had a few cows and hens, but mainly grew fresh produce such as rice and jute fibre.
What is the nature of your farm business? ‘Because the weather conditions are so different here [in Scotland], we had to try a different type of farming. I did some research and found that sheep farming is easier than having cows. Also, Scottish Blackface sheep are more straightforward to care for than other breeds so we decided to go into that area. ‘Being new to farming, we needed something that was accessible. We’re actually in our first year now.’
Why did you apply for mentoring support? ‘I called FAS for advice on soil management and they told me about ILMPs and suggested I apply for adviser help.’
How did you find the process of applying for funding through FAS? ‘I found it very easy. It all happened within a few days. I applied for funding for an ILMP and within 2 weeks, I received approval. ‘Of course, developing the actual ILMP took more time but it was easy to get started.’
What did your adviser help you with? ‘Information. We didn’t have enough information. Christine [FAS adviser] spent lots of time talking to us about what we wanted and what we needed to do. She spent a whole day sitting with my husband and I chatting about what support and options were available. ‘She also sent me lots of information, like links to resources online and useful books to read. She was very knowledgeable and helpful.’
What benefits do you anticipate for your business as a result of having the ILMP? ‘Well, we’ve only just completed it, so we’ve not had a chance to implement all the actions yet but I plan to follow all the advice in it. Hopefully, it’ll help us achieve our goals and help our business to be profitable.’
Would you recommend doing an ILMP to other farmers? ‘Of course. It’s a plan. It gives you a structure and objectives to work towards, and when you have a plan, you can start to work towards your goals. When we first started, we didn’t have a plan. ‘We tried looking for information by ourselves but it was disorganised. We didn’t know where to start. ‘An ILMP has helped us to organise information and make sense of things.’
Would you recommend FAS support services to other farmers? ‘Yes, no doubt about that. FAS can provide advice on any kind of farming. If you need advice on adapting growing methods to the weather, or help with land management or soil-nutrient management, FAS can provide you with guidance or refer you to a specialist adviser in the area you’re interested in. ‘Since the ILMP was completed, I’ve applied for additional help from FAS. We’re going to have a carbon audit and I’m looking for an adviser to provide specialist advice in soil-nutrient management. I also plan to apply for mentoring support through FAS so that we can give back a little to my neighbour and the previous owner of our farm. They were incredibly helpful in helping us get started.
‘They have been like informal mentors to us. I didn’t know we could get funding support for their time until going through the ILMP process, but now I do – we will be applying for that too!’
What advice would you give to others seeking help with an ILMP? I would advise them to do what I did. Go on the FAS website or call them up for information on how to get started. FAS can tell you what help is available and what support you can expect from government.
For further information about the support available, please visit contact us:
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