Thank You

As executive editor of Direct Driller I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new sponsor Trinity AgTech and its founder and executive chairman Dr Hosein Khajeh-Hosseiny. At the same time, give most sincere thanks to ProCam for their support and inspiration from the magazine’s first issue.

Procam have been great from the very start of the magazine, but there comes a time when that responsibility needs to be passed on. Their continued support of the magazine though COVID, when many were cutting their budgets was greatly appreciated. A new sponsor hadn’t been considered until we met the man behind Trinity AgTech. Quite a few people from the trade I consider friends had already gone to work there. I had wondered why this was, I figured the pay was very good. Then I met Hosein. A man with a vision who wants change. The difference with Hosein is that he believes farmers can lead the change, both for a better way of farming and to improve the environment. He talks of the “genius of the many” – the talent and innovation that lie collectively in those who care for our soils – and says he wants the software and services Trinity Natural Capital Group is bringing to market to help this along.

The aim is to “democratise access” to the best science, to self-assessment and to new markets. This’ll put farmers “in control”, he says, and ultimately better off. You don’t get this a lot in farming. Individuals that want change don’t “go far” we have been told. They are disrupters or dissenters, but we think farming needs change. When I normally get asked to meet the owner of a company, I am expecting to be told off. If you follow Clive on Twitter (or me on LinkedIn) – you will know why! This was a very different meeting. My mind went back five years to a similar discussion with the Cherry family. We were thanked for what we had done to promote sustainable farming. I was probably quiet at the meeting.

Well quiet for me. I was definitely surprised. I listened to a history, a success story and now they wanted to give farmers more options. We know from TFF that if you are happy to embrace change, that you can build a business that supports multiple members of staff and helps farmers improve the way they farm and save money. It is not a zero-sum game. A month after the meeting, I offered Trinity AgTech the sponsorship of Direct Driller as an option for their marketing. They accepted. However, you will see the Procam advert right opposite this article. We owe them thanks, they are a driving force in regen agriculture and I hope they will continue to be in the magazine for years to come.

Many won’t know the history behind Direct Driller Magazine. The idea came out of a need for more and better information about soil health. With the likes of John and Paul Cherry thinking about Groundswell we started Direct Driller. Getting anything started from nothing is difficult. We knew that TCS in France and No-Till Farmer in the USA were both successful publications. There was no reason why a UK publication couldn’t be just as successful. But making it a reality is a big step. First, we asked farmers if they would like such a magazine. The answer was “yes”. Over 800 of you subscribed to a magazine that didn’t exist. Secondly, we found content for a magazine. The third part of producing a magazine is funding it. We never wanted to charge farmers, we wanted knowledge exchange to be free and open. Not only as an on-line publication, but as a hard copy magazine which includes the cost of postage.

This is where is gets tricky. It’s very hard to get advertisers to see the value in a new magazine. Things changed when I met Richard Harding from Procam. Richard was sat in John Cherry’s kitchen working out how we were going to get farmers and advertisers at Groundswell. Richard was a font of knowledge – inside I was thinking he would make a much better editor than me. Richard introduced me to Garth Bretherton, then Regional Director at Procam. Procam wanted to be seen as the forerunner of this regen ag space. I put a deal to Procam, where they could be the “sponsor” of the magazine.

They accepted and with five other advertisers we had enough revenue to get the first issue printed and mailed. But more than this, Procam lent us some of Richard’s time and expertise to help find content for the magazine. Richard is as much a part of the magazine as Clive or I am. With free labour, from Richard, myself, Clive and a barter agreement with Mike Donovan who back in 1992 started and built up Practical Farm Ideas, we had the team to get the first issue put together. While many not quite of appreciated the contribution of Procam in those early days of the magazine, they were critical to it’s launch. Everyone involved with Direct Driller looks forward to an equally stimulating and useful relationship going forward, which comes at a propitious time in farming. There will be many changes and developments in farming over the next ten years and all will involve the need for both honest explanation and educated discussion. Our new sponsor takes us into an exciting time.

Chris Fellows, Direct Driller magazine