The competition, run by Farmers Weekly and supported by six leading businesses, is geared to change perceptions of the agriculture industry and shine a light on the dynamic skills needed for a career in modern farming.
In the dramatic final episode of the Farmers Apprentice web TV series, William Hinton was revealed as the overall winner of the competition, taking home a £10,000 prize to kick-start his farming business.
The Reading University graduate, who is a first generation farmer, went head to head with nine other aspiring farmers at a farming ‘bootcamp’. Over the course of a week they were mentored and tested through a range of real-life farm tasks, from developing a mobile app for farmers and presenting a formal business pitch, to overhauling a combine and getting cows ready for showing.
In the closely fought contest, William Hinton won over the judges with his drive and determination to get the job done. He scored highly in all the tasks, despite not having much farming experience. His natural leadership style, ability to think outside the box and the well-considered business pitch were just some of the skills that set him aside as the winner.
William is currently in his final year at Reading University and plans on putting the business plan idea he developed at bootcamp into action.
He said: “Bootcamp gave me the headspace to come up with the idea of milking sheep and processing the milk. Sheep milk is a niche product and has a potentially huge market with it being suitable for lactose-intolerant people. I would rather cut out the processor and make the cheese myself and purchase sheep milk from other farmers and then aim for mainstream supermarkets producing a range of products, including cheese for lunch boxes.
He adds: “I have done all the financial costings and there are some big financial costs to begin with, so I need help from investors to get the business off the ground. My plan is to import some Friesland ewe lambs and buy the equipment with the help of the prize money and investors. It’s business time now!”
Mr Hinton said it felt “amazing” to win. “I was so happy, emotional and absolutely shattered as I think I had been up for 34 hours since then doing the business pitch.”
Describing this year’s winner Jane King, Farmers Apprentice judge and editorial director of Farmers Weekly said: “Will has shown that it isn’t necessary to be from a farming background to build a successful farming business. Being focussed, professional and with a bit of hard work and determination you can achieve a lot. Will has the kind of attitude and entrepreneurial spirit that are going to take him a long way. And I have no doubt Will will go on to achieve his dreams of owning his own farm and running a successful sheep milking business.”
The Farmers Apprentice is sponsored by six leading businesses. They are McDonald’s, Anglia Farmers and Edge Apprenticeships, Bayer CropScience, FarmCare, New Holland and Easton and Otley College.
Image: Farming via Shutterstock