About Geoff


GEOFF comes from a long line of traditional English farmers.  For as far back as he can trace his ancestry, his forebears have been farmers.

His father John was a Dorset farmer's son, and his mother Helen was a Hertfordshire farmer's daughter.  They married at the outbreak of the Second World War, serving in the Royal Air Force and the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.  In 1946 they settled at Grove Farm in the hamlet of Terrick, in the parish of Ellesborough, where the Prime Minister's country home Chequers is located.

It was here, in the family home, that Geoff was born early in the morning, as he likes to put it:  "Just in time for breakfast."

Farming is in Geoff's blood and from the very beginning, together with his two sisters and brother, he helped out with his father's traditional English Shorthorn dairy herd, washing bottles and swabbing down the cowshed.  Geoff's father delivered green and gold top milk throughout the neighbourhood in special Grove Farm milk bottles.

Education

After Geoff completed his A Levels at Berkhamsted School he took a year out to work on other farms before going to Wye College, London University, to study for his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.

Following graduation he spent a year travelling the world to work on farms in Canada, New Zealand and Australia before joining his father in partnership at Grove Farm, which had now moved from dairy into beef farming.

Getting married

Geoff met his wife on his return to England. She comes from Northumberland and is a journalist.  They have two children, aged 26 and 24.

Geoff's farming methods

Geoff's primary job is looking after his land and animals.  He rears beef cattle and sheep and grows wheat, barley and cattle feed beans.

Geoff maintains a suckler herd and bull beef system.  Sheep grazing is beneficial to grassland and Geoff keeps ewes and lambs.

Set-aside is a modern name for leaving land fallow, an ancient agricultural system which has been used by farmers for millennia to improve the land and rest it between cropping.  Geoff's arable land currently grows wheat, barley and cattle feed beans but over the years he has also grown linseed and oil seed rape.  The wheat he grows is usually used for bread making or biscuits.  Some wheat can be used for cattle feed.  Geoff mills his own barley to feed to his cattle.

Geoff's links with other local businesses

In addition to farming his own land Geoff maintains a thriving paddock management business, looking after anything from one to 30 acre pockets of land for neighbours.

He manages the paddock at Buckinghamshire's oldest independent brewery, The Chiltern Brewery in Nash Lee Road, Terrick, and uses the malt by-product from the brewing process to feed to his cattle - thus producing a truly unique, flavoursome and local product!  Beer from the brewery is also used in the production of Terrick Beef steak and ale pies.

A few years ago Geoff managed the land at Manor Farm, Great Kimble, home to a three day event equine training centre.  The beautiful horses enjoy relaxing in the paddocks which, with Geoff's help, have been transformed into productive, picturesque pastures, partly achieved by sheep grazing.

Geoff's other passion

Apart from farming Geoff is an enthusiastic amateur actor.  He has been a member of Wendover Theatre Society (www.wendovertheatre.co.uk) for eight years.  He says:  "I am the man who puts the amateur into amateur dramatics."

His parts have included country yokel Reuben in Cold Comfort Farm; the Sun-Tanned Kid in Panto at the OK Corrall; Emperor Nero in Pompeii Panto; and Squire Polperro in Treasure Island - the Panto.

He is supported in his dramatic efforts by all his family.  Both of his children have joined him on stage, and his wife helps with promotion and publicity for the productions.