They discussed funding with their Senior Relationship Manager at RBS, Jim Paterson, with whom they have a long standing working relationship. The investment they sought was for new and upgraded sheds (including one for cows to winter and calve in, and another to store winter feed), new milking parlour facilities, and a new underground slurry system that pumps the slurry into a storage tank for use later in the year on the fields.
Like any other business, farms must evolve and adapt as markets change. In recent years in the UK, the need for economies of scale have led many farms to specialise, rather than dividing resources and investment over several elements. This was the case for Milton Farm.
Richard had successfully applied for a grant from the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SDRP), for some of the funds. RBS provided the rest, a total of £1.4m made available as a Farm Capital Loan, delivered in two stages during 2012.
The work was completed and the business now has 650 head of cattle, making it one of the larger dairy farms in Scotland. Richard Picken is pleased with the progress: "We’re now in a strong position to be competitive, with a flexible system that is really working well."
He adds: "We rate Jim Paterson very highly, he has a good understanding of our business and saw our potential to fulfil our ambitions to specialise in dairy farming."