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16.04.03
Worms turn Cornish farmers in new direction

Worms are turning a Cornish dairy farm in a new direction thanks to support from the Objective One-funded Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative (RDCGI).

Sharon and Neil Rowe, of Trethvas Farm, The Lizard, will shortly start harvesting their wriggly crop from the worm farm which they set up last summer.

Neil is a partner in a family business farming around 600 acres. He and Sharon started breeding worms to diversify their business to combat falling farm incomes.

Organic Resources Management, which supplied their millions of worms and will buy them back when they are harvested, helped the Rowes to start their beds on 1,000 square metres of farmland.

The company has worldwide contracts to supply worms for many purposes including waste projects, football pitches, and irrigation.

“They take around eight months to grow to maturity depending on the time of year as a cold snap will affect their progress,” explained Sharon. “Cow manure and paper pulp provide enough nutrients to start them off and then we give them worm food and water. Soon the biggest ones will be harvested and will go all round the world.”

The pre-investment support offered under RCDGI, delivered on behalf of the Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall, allowed them to assess the proposed project and its potential benefit to the overall business. As a result the RCDGI appraisal panel agreed a grant of £4,250 towards the overall £8,500 capital costs of the venture.

RCDGI manager Marilyn Pryor, of Business Link, said: “This small but effective project has allowed the Rowes to diversify by expanding into a new area which offers an innovative way to develop a secondary income stream.”

“The grant certainly helped us to get it off the ground,” added Sharon who had to cope with another new project in February when baby Ellie was born nine weeks prematurely!

While the RDCGI is managed by the Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall, the Objective One funding comes from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

For more information on diversifying a farm business or in other agricultural programmes run by Business Link Devon and Cornwall contact 0845 600 9966 or click here to visit the website.

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Editor's notes:

Issued by:

South West Investment Group
Trevint House
Strangways Villas
Truro TR1 2PA
Tel: 01872 223883
Fax: 01872 242470
Email: info@southwestinvestmentgroup.co.uk

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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