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Farming family are oil pioneers
LEADERS of organisations across Gloucestershire toured Swell Buildings Farm, Lower Swell, on the NFU Farming in Gloucestershire Day 2012 hosted by Hamish Campbell and his father Robert Campbell.
Visitors were given an update on the current state of the farming industry by Charles Mann, county NFU chairman, and Andrew Butler, NFU regional director in the South West.
The Campbell family has diversified into the production of cold pressed oil seed rape oil and Hamish Campbell described the system developed over the past eight years.
The farm, he said, comprised 800 acres of which 700 acres was arable and they also ran a similar sized farm near Andoversford on a three-course rotation of wheat followed by spring barley and oil seed rape. During the past two years they had also set up a machinery partnership with a neighbour of a similar size enabling them to use more modern equipment.
“I have learned that farmers are our own worst enemies by not helping each other out,” he said. “It is important to see the farming community working closely together.”
Mr Campbell explained it was at a time when OSR prices were low that they diversified into the production of oil, starting on a small scale and then achieving a breakthrough when chefs came on board and started using it. They then took it a step further by taking back the waste oil and were now experimenting with using the waste oil to fuel a delivery van.
Another step forward in marketing, he said, was using a variety of OSR which was exclusive to them worldwide.
“We have come up with an oil that can be used for cooking, dressing or dipping and we continue to use the waste oil,” he said. “When top chefs ring up and say how much they love our oil it urges us on to do the next thing.”
On the tour of the farm he explained the higher and entry level environmental schemes they were involved in and explained in order to cut down on artificial fertilisers they used thousands of tons of horse manure from local racing stables.
“It means we are looking after the soil and improving the soil structure which in turn on this Cotswold brash helps water retention,” he said.