Rob Greenow, a Staffordshire based young farmer, has successfully established his own AD business, allowing him to secure his future in farming – all before the age of 30.
Combining an interest in renewable energy with his farming experience, Rob established AD management business, BioG UK just a couple of years after leaving university. The success of the business has seen him become a partner of choice for AD finance company, Privilege Finance.
“While studying at Reading University I completed my dissertation on ammonia volatisation and the spreading application types of digestate from AD Plants,” explains Rob.
“At the time AD was only just becoming popular in the agricultural industry but I could see the future potential. So, after graduation, I joined an AD company and was involved in the planning and running of various sites.
“But, in 2012 I decided to go it alone and set up BioG UK, hoping that one day I would be able to establish my own AD plant.”
Although initially Rob hoped to support farmers through the feasibility and planning stages of an AD plant build, he explains that the business soon changed direction.
“After two years I shifted the focus of the business to concentrate on helping existing AD plant owners troubleshoot and manage their plants.
“And in 2016 I completed the purchase of my own 162-acre arable farm. This was around the same time two years’ worth of planning came off for the development of my own AD plant at Batchacre Hall Farm, Staffordshire,” he explains.
“Finance for the £1.9m plant was secured in May 2016 with Privilege Finance. I explored other options however Privilege were willing to take a measured risk on us without securing large bonds against the farm.
“The great thing with Privilege is that they trust me to get on with the job. As long as I meet the parameters they essentially leave me to it, although I know they’re always there if I need support.”
Rob concludes that although it’s been a challenging few years he wouldn’t change any of it. “I’m really looking forward to the future, AD is an exciting area to be involved in and I encourage anyone looking to diversify to consider it.”