Aylesbury farm modernises operations thanks to £48,000 LEADER grant

An Aylesbury Vale farm will benefit from a new turkey processing facility thanks to a £48,000 LEADER Programme grant, creating two full time jobs and generating otherwise unattainable growth.

Patrick Lambert has been rearing turkeys at Starveall Farm for nearly 30 years, in which time capacity has risen from being able to process just 100 turkeys to more than 5,000 in 2016. For a time, this was the ceiling that Starveall Farm could not break through. “The existing turkey processing facility is an adapted shed originally built for another use,” explains Patrick. “It is at full capacity, and not fit for purpose. Therefore, to expand the business, we needed a new processing plant, and as my son, Mike, is now running the turkey business, it seemed an appropriate project for him to manage.”

And so Mike Lambert applied to the LEADER Programme for grant funding that would help build a brand new, modern facility with greater capacity. A £48,000 grant followed, bringing multiple benefits, outlined by Mike: “The new facility will modernise and expand our operations, allowing us to accommodate a further 3,000 turkeys. The new facility means increased production capacity, improved productivity, improved quality standards, and ultimately, increased turnover on the farm. We will also be able to bring two new full-time employees on board, as well as several casual workers throughout the year to assist with increased production levels.”

The LEADER team is heavily involved throughout the grant application process, and Mike was impressed with the support they offered: “The LEADER team were exceptionally helpful throughout the whole process from start to finish. They were excellent at guiding us through the application requirements, making it as simple as possible. It was crucial that we began work on our project in June 2017 and the LEADER team made this happen. Without them it would not have been possible. They understood the importance of the grant to our project and played a crucial role in helping us get approval. I would be delighted to work with the LEADER team again.”

Having had to reject opportunities for new business in the past due to the restrictions placed upon the farm by the current facility, Mike is in no doubt that this growth would not have been possible without investment, and without the £48,000 LEADER funding that will enable the new facility to become a reality. “As well as enabling our growth in productivity and turnover, the new facility will also allow us to diversify our product range, introducing at least one new product per year, which we can sell in a new dedicated shop also created as part of this project. We have also designed the new building is such a way that it can accommodate a number of new techniques that will help with things as varied as quality control and taking payments.”

That’s quite the impact for one project, and one LEADER grant. No wonder Will Dallimore, LEADER Programme Manager, was so happy to deliver the grant: “The project at Starveall Farm is a great example of what a rural business with growth ambitions can achieve when it accesses LEADER funding. The scope of this project is ambitious, as it not only creates a new processing facility and shop, it also creates the potential for new products and processes that will bring increased turnover for years to come. Supporting an increase in farm productivity is a key LEADER priority, so we were delighted to provide £48,000 of funding to Starveall Farm.”

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