Terry says, “To diversify and secure long-term sustainability of our Brackenthwaite farm, we welcome a cash crop that doesn’t require a lot of work. Work is what farming is about, whether it’s livestock or traditional crops. It’s rewarding to add a new crop to the mix, which has predictable yield for many years, but doesn’t take a lot of time.”
“We don’t think about the willow every day, like we do with dairy cows,” says Thomas, shaking his head with a knowing grin.
Terry adds, “We’re not worried about willow market conditions, because Iggesund has guaranteed a fixed price for 22 years. And there’s no reason for that not to continue for long beyond the contract. By contrast, market conditions have driven the price of milk so low that farmers like us have become very creative to survive.”
“We have also installed our own bio-boiler, a small wind turbine and solar panels. We are wide open to new ways to bring in additional income. Short rotation coppice willow fits our way of thinking.”