Alex Saunders is the epitome of the saying ‘hard work pays off’, at the age of just 24 he has secured a long-term sustainable future in agriculture for himself and his family. Alex is currently successfully running a 1050 pig place building and has imminent plans to expand.
Alex left school at the age of 16 and began working for an agricultural contractor. After travelling in New Zealand for six months Alex was looking in to possibilities to make his own way in to the industry. Since a young age Alex has been involved with his father’s pig enterprise based in Suffolk, who also contract finishes pigs for BQP. In 2017, after discussions with BQP Alex decided to go ahead with a 1050 pig building.
In early 2017 plans were drawn up and submitted in association with Planning Consultant Ian Pick for a 1050 place pig building and a high street lender was approached for a loan to finance the project. As Alex planned to continue with his full-time job for a local straw merchant as well as the pigs, the bank looked favourably on the proposed business plan. “The monthly payment structure that BQP offers also meant that I could demonstrate a reliable cash flow forecast to the bank, helping to secure the loan. In addition to the standard payments made, BQP also pay a new build incentive, payable for the first 13 batches of pigs which has helped me to pay off a significant amount of the loan already,” says Alex.
The first building was completed in December 2017, with the first pigs arriving on farm just before Christmas. On average Alex spends an hour before work each day looking after the pigs which enables him to continue with his full-time job.
The most recent batch of pigs achieved a feed conversion rate (FCR) of 2.22, this level of FCR attracts the highest bonus payment possible and is testament to Alex’s good stockmanship and attention to detail. Following the success of two batches and approaching the end of the third, Alex has received the good news that he had gained planning consent for a second 1000 place building, just a year after completing his first building, his next step is to put in a planning application for a straw barn.
A brilliant example for aspiring young farmers, Alex’s achievements have already been recognised in the industry, with Alex being a finalist in the 2018 NPA pig awards for the Young Pig Farmer of the Year. “For any entrant with the right work ethic and drive, contract rearing pigs with BQP is a brilliant way to create a profitable long-term enterprise,” concludes Alex.