A Herefordshire farming business is thriving having diversified and made a major investment in the company’s future with backing from Clydesdale Bank.
NR & SLM Green, run by Nigel and Sally Green at Much Fawley Farm near Ross-on-Wye, has invested £2 million in a new anaerobic digester (AD) plant.
The unit is enabling the Greens to use cattle slurry and chicken litter to create electricity to power the farm, along with outsourcing electricity to energy suppliers.
The family, which has grown potatoes for around 20 years, funded the project with support from an Advantage West Midlands grant along with funding from Clydesdale Bank’s Gloucester Financial Solutions Centre (FSC).
The Greens were one of the first in Herefordshire to invest in the technology and the company is already reaping the rewards.
Sally said: “This was a major investment project for us which we spent around two years looking into.
“It’s new technology, which is very green, and we see this as being very much the future.
“We are basically using muck from chickens, along with waste materials such as vegetable peelings, to produce electricity. Around 20 per cent of the energy produced is used to power what we need on the farm and we are able to export the excess energy created.”
The AD unit has two gas production tanks to generate methane and also produces heat which is used to warm chicken sheds, dry crops and to also dry digestate - making significant annual savings.
Sally said attracting financial backing was hugely important to get the project off the ground.
“This was a very novel project so it has taken a lot of planning to get to this stage,” she said.
“Not many banks are providing funding for major projects like this, so we appreciate the faith Clydesdale Bank has shown in us.
“We are one of the first in the region to invest in this technology, and we are delighted with the impact it has had on the business so far.”
Emyr Saer, Rural Business Partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Gloucester FSC, said the Greens are well positioned to grow their business after investing in AD technology.
“AD electricity production is a growing market which is receiving strong government backing, due to the obvious benefits of vastly reducing carbon footprints,” he said.
“We have long-standing relationships with the local farming and rural community and are delighted to have supported Nigel and Sally with their growth plans.
“The Bank is committed to helping rural businesses maximise opportunities and the Greens are a perfect example of a business which has spotted a gap in the market and is now making strong returns on their investment.”