Is a member of your team hungry to progress?

Published 15 August 15

Article 10As DairyLeaders and business people who see the development of the staff and family teams as key to the success of the overall business, we believe the 2015 Entrepreneurs in Dairying programme will be of interest to you.

The initiative offers specialist tuition and coaching for those who wish to progress their careers and develop their farming business, focusing on applied business management, building on what has been learnt through college and/or their own experience.

Mark Lee from Park House, Wigton, Cumbria was one of the programme members at Newton Rigg in 2014 – here he outlines what he got from Entrepreneurs in Dairying.

Previous training: LLM Medical Law; LLB; PgdL

Previous career: King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regiment – 10 years in total, the last five I was an army lawyer. I also played rugby at professional level for eight years including captaining the Scotland Sevens, the British Army and the Combined Services.


Why did you attend the course?

After 10 years of serving as an Officer in the British Army, I had the opportunity to work together with my wife, Jenny, by helping to run her family dairy farm. I had no previous experience of farming or working in agriculture but the opportunity to get stuck into such a dynamic and exciting industry was too good to miss.

For the first two years I threw myself into the three times a day milking routine and began developing my practical skills of AI and hoof trimming.  I really wanted to enhance my understanding of the business and management side of the industry. The Entrepreneurs in Dairying course was an opportunity to focus on business efficiency, networking with like-minded individuals and getting practical advice from inspirational business leaders. 


What did you get out of the course?

Entrepreneurs in Dairying helped me to build contacts with people at the forefront in the industry – those who push things forward. While the course had a set structure, I was also able to tailor it to what I wanted.

The most important area for me was the focus on business management, the corner stone of which was a two-day course which began with personal goal setting and culminated in developing a business plan.

In addition, the course promoted the ‘Get Mentoring’ in Farming programme. I had the opportunity to acquire some guidance from fellow Cumbria dairy farmer, Robert Craig; his attitude and approach to business was very inspiring. I took home advice on how to approach farm business accounting with end goals. I have, subsequently, set out two and five-year plans as a family with two small children as well as a farm.


What are you doing now?

Currently knocking down walls in sheds to increase ventilation and moving calves into igloos. Having had several careers, dairy farming is the most demanding, complex and diverse job I have undertaken and is almost as all-encompassing as having a six and four-year- old!


What are your future plans?

To achieve and develop our two and five-year goals by ensuring the family farming business is dynamic and healthy.


The top three take-home tips on what you have learned from the course are?

  1. Challenge every aspect of your business
  2. Set goals and write them down
  3. Small steps to make big changes 

Run jointly by RABDF, the NFU, Andersons and AHDB Dairy, the programme has been set as eight sessions concentrating on applied business skills and knowledge:

  • Introduction to Entrepreneurs in Dairying
  • The dairy supply chain – full day
  • Finance Course – 2 full days
  • Your business plan
  • Financing your dairy business
  • Contracts and price management
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Next Steps – full day

The 2015 programme is being run at four colleges:

Bridgwater College Colegsirgar Newton Rease

Bridgwater College



Coleg Sir Gar

Gelli Aur


Newton Rigg College



Reaseheath College





21 September

Application forms:

Bridgwater College                                       


22 September



Coleg Sir Gar   

23 September



Newton Rigg  

2 September




Applications need to be sent to RABDF at Dairy House, Unit 31, Abbey Park, Stareton, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LY or to  by 31 August.

The cost of the programme is £350 + Vat. Each session will be Dairy Pro pointed. For further information, please contact the AHDB Dairy Extension Officer facilitating the programme nearest to you:

Bridgwater College – Michael Hardcastle, 07929 203699,

Coleg Sir Gar - Jamie McCoy, 07976 181103, 

Newton Rigg College – Hannah Tait, 07990 778149,

Reaseheath College – James Hague, 07792 289386,


For general enquiries, please contact

Emily from RABDF on or call 0845 458 2711

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