Buckingham’s grand cheese plan recognition

Southern Farmer: Nicholas Millard Nicholas Millard

A HADLOW College student has won a Pinnacle Business Management Award sponsored by The Farmers ' Club.

Mature second-year international agriculture student Nicholas Millard, 31, pictured, walked off with the Gold Award for his plans for developing and producing Buckinghamshire’s first artisan cheese for more than a century.

He said: “I’m thrilled with the award and cannot waitto start work on my business plan and actually producing the cheese this summer.

“My plan is based partly aroundOldPark Farm in northBuckinghamshire where I work when I am not studying.”

Tim Buckingham runs the 180-acre dairy farm, the 14th generation of his family to do so.

MrBuckingham said: “Six years ago I had 180 cows, mainly Holstein, producing 10,000 litres of milk.But with labour and feed costs relentlessly rising, I revised the business plan.

“I have scaled down the herd to around 70 cows and nowhave a total grazing-based system. I also breed cattle, mainly dairy short horn breeds.”

Nicholas, who is in the second year of his three-year course at Hadlow College in Kent, said the recipes for the cheese he hopes to produce were found in a garden shed on the Buckinghamshire farm.

“The recipes were in books and were written by Tim’s great-great grandparents generations ago.

I’m hoping to put my business plan into action when I graduate from Hadlow and the milk from the farm will go entirely into cheese production.

“It’s ridiculous to sell milk for so little when there is such a big potential market on the doorstep. So I’ve been researching the farm’s next step into farm cheese production.

“Cheese has not been produced in Buckinghamshire for more than a century, but I am hoping to produce a hard Double Gloucester or Cheshire-style cheese.”

His idea for the new cheese,to be called Buckingham 1727, and his business plan secured the GoldAward and, with it,the Nickerson Cup and a cheque for £2,000.

Hot on the heels of Nicholas was £1,000 Silver Award-winner JoePhoenix of Reading University, who presented a comprehensive financial proposalto contractfarm additional arable land and build a new grain store.

Helen Day of Bridgwater College, Somerset clinched the £600BronzeAward with her operational plans for a new dairy farming enterprise, which were firmly grounded in the reality of everyday farming issues.

Allfinalists receivedFarmers’Club membership for a year and a £300 cheque for their college.

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