Young farming couple enter venison market thanks to funding

Tuesday 5th December 2017 6:00 pm
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Trefranck Farm’s Matt and Pip Smith with HSBC’s Karl Carter. ()

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AN award-winning farming couple have entered the venison market for the first time after securing a six-figure finance package from HSBC.

Matt and Pip Smith, co-owners of Trefranck Farm near Launceston, have used HSBC funding to acquire 250 pedigree breeding hinds, which has increased their livestock to 650 animals and helped them to meet the growing demand for British venison.

The young couple already farm 1,000 sheep and recently won the prestigious Farmers Weekly ‘National Sheep Farmer of the Year’ award. The new red deer herd will supply venison to a major retailer and some of the deer will also be sold to specialist breeders.

The 300-acre farm, which has been in Pip’s family since 1703, has also used the funding to erect fencing and purchase handling equipment in order to manage pasture land effectively, as well as keep livestock and people safe.

The finance has been drawn from a £300-million lending fund committed by HSBC to support agricultural businesses in the UK, as part of its wider support package to help British SMEs realise their growth ambitions.

Pip said: “The market for venison in the UK is flourishing and we were keen to take the farm in a new direction. Our relationship manager at HSBC, Karl Carter, has always been incredibly supportive of our plans for growth and has a great understanding of how we can tap into this industry. We’re excited to have already secured a contract with a major retailer with the bank’s support.”

Euryn Jones, HSBC’s regional agriculture director for the South West and Wales region, said: “Matt and Pip Smith are talented and committed farmers with ambitious plans to supply high-quality meat to major retailers and pedigree deer to UK breeders. Having spotted a gap in the market to rear venison, the couple turned to us to help them overcome some of the barriers they faced.

“We are delighted to have been able to put a tailored finance package in place for them and look forward to following the success of the business over the coming months and years.”

Matt and Pip have more than 20 years of farming experience between them. Matt has travelled the world shearing sheep and holds lectures on sheep farming and the New Zealand-born farmer currently holds the world record for most ewes sheared in nine hours.

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