Rhug estate is featured in the latest podcast in NFU Mutual’s ‘Ahead of the field’ series.
The Rhug Estate near Llangollen has been transformed into an international business selling food to destinations ranging from Wales to Hong Kong and London’s Borough Market. The estate is well known in Wales for its farm shop, bistro, takeaway and newly added drive thru as well as its enviable reputation for world-class organic meat thanks to its owner, Lord Newborough.
The first-hand story of the estate’s development by Lord Newborough features in a podcast produced by NFU Mutual. It forms part of a series designed to help farmers plan to make their businesses viable after Brexit.
Since inheriting the Rhug Estate from his father in 1998, Lord Newborough has transformed the 12,500 acre Estate into a dynamic, diverse organic farming, retailing, wholesaling and green energy business.
“I regard the organic conversion as diversification,” explains Lord Newborough. “At that time, I decided to be a niche player on the world market, rather than trying to compete with the big producers. It took two years to make the transition and then in 2002, we started to retail fresh meat and cooked food and things went really well so we added a farm shop and the rest followed on.
“After a few years selling our products in the wholesale markets, we created the Rhug Estate brand that has been an important part of our success story.
“Every farmer who decides to diversify ought to think about their story and creating a brand because at the end of the day that’s what your customer’s buy into and it helps to open up new markets.”
When recession hit in 2008 and organic meat became a harder sell, the farm established export markets in Singapore and Hong Kong. Rhug Estate opened a new farm shop and bistro in 2012 and also opened a store in Borough Market that acts as a shop window in London for the farm’s award-winning meat.
“Diversification still gives me a big buzz. The plans don’t stop! Now we have opened a drive thru we’re planning to launch natural and organic cosmetics range of products that we plan to retail and export both home and abroad.”
NFU Mutual’s Ahead of the field podcasts, hosted by ‘Rock and Roll Farming’ podcaster Will Evans, are available to download on NFU Mutual’s website: nfumutual.co.uk/farming/farming-diversification