Meet the Pluckley agricultural contractor Richard Bowe
PUBLISHED: 21:39 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 21:39 04 February 2016
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How the Kent family run agricultural contracting company grew into a one-stop shop for all outsourced agricultural services.
Name: Richard Bowe
Job title: Contract Operations Manager
Where: FGS Agri Ltd, Pluckley
WHAT SORT OF BUSINESS IS IT?
FGS Agri Ltd was established more than 30 years ago to provide agricultural contracting services that include farm and estate management.
Originally based in Egerton, the business expanded rapidly in line with customers’ growing requirements, then moved to a much larger site at Pluckley, with a second depot based at Andover.
The business model is based on the provision of ‘one-stop services’ to fulfil the outsourced services required by arable and livestock farmers.
This means our clients are able to benefit from reduced overheads, a wide range of equipment, environmentally friendly machinery that is also high tech and, very importantly, our knowledgeable, highly skilled and experienced staff.
It is virtually impossible for the individual employer to finance the incredibly expensive machinery employed in today’s farming sector. Likewise, it is often more effective to use the services of a highly skilled workforce when needed than to employ them full time.
Trevor Heathcote, chairman, and Jonathan West, MD, have been quick to appreciate changing and developing needs. Consequently FGS Agri also offers organic recycling and a wide range of civil utility contracting services through the sister companies of FGS Organics, Countrystyle, FGS Plant and Water Direct.
HOW ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS of your work?
The environmental aspects of farming are increasingly important and we work with our clients to ensure full advantage is taken of the Entry Level and Higher Level environmental schemes that result in important benefits for the countryside.
WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
I grew up in Northamptonshire, where my father was a tenant farmer, and he showed me hard work and job satisfaction. It was a life I enjoyed and this prompted my decision to make a career in agriculture. I have never for a minute regretted it.
WHAT ABOUT TRAINING?
I went to Moulton College in Northamptonshire, where I for a studied a National Diploma in Agriculture. It gave me a good grounding in farm management.
HOW DO YOU MARKETWe have a very established client base and a lot of new business comes to us via word of mouth and reputation. We work with some first-class businesses and are responsible for managing 4,500 acres, the majority of which are in Kent and East Sussex.
DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING DAY
It varies from day to day. I may be working in the office at Pluckley, or I could be out visiting clients to discuss their needs. Farming businesses may have similarities but at the same time they are individual and it’s essential to get the contract details absolutely right.
The health and safety aspects of everything we do are crucially important and this involves ensuring the operators are fully trained and all the machinery is in first-class order.
Inevitably, as in every business, some emergencies occur; my priority is to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
MARK OUT OF 10 FOR JOB SATISFACTION?
Working with customers who appreciate the flexibility and standard of service we provide and with our own experienced and knowledgeable teams is always satisfying, so it’s 10 out of 10. w
Get in touch
FGS Agri Ltd
Stanford Bridge Farm, Station Road
Pluckley TN27 0RU
01233 820055 or firstname.lastname@example.org