Farm Fixer revisits Newtownhamilton farmer

October 7, 2013

Farm Fixer, the BBC One programme which saw Sir Alan Sugar’s right-hand man, Nick Hewer, provide strategic planning expertise to farmers round Northern Ireland in a bid to help them diversify, returns tonight (Monday October 7) at 7.30pm.

Farm Fixer Revisited follows Nick as he returns to some of the farms he tried to help in series one.

Previously, these farms were in crisis and needed an extra push to introduce new money-making strategies. Now, having given them this push, Nick wants to see how these farms have progressed, if they listened to his advice and most importantly, if they are now making money.

In this one-off special made for BBC Northern Ireland by Waddell Media, Nick revisits Phillip Brown from outside Newtownhamilton, who established a mobile petting farm business.

Phil, ‘Northern Ireland’s answer to Dr Dolittle’, has an array of pint-sized animals from pigmy goats, miniature ponies, micro pigs, lamas, alpacas and a baby kangaroo.

In series one he planned to use his 17-acre site to develop a mobile petting farm. Having a great gift with animals, Phil needed to take his ability and make it into a viable business. Nick had ambitious plans for Phil, incorporating re-branding, franchising and expansion.

Nick, whose mother is from Bangor and was himself educated in County Kildare, admits he is no farming guru. But with 40 years of experience he believes that what he does have to offer is common sense.

Nick Hewer said: “Last year I followed eight farms across Northern Ireland as they diversified in a bid to survive.  They needed to do something different and profitable before they went under. It was time for some radical thinking. There were some strong ideas and there were some very weak ones.  There were dreamers, deadlines were broken, and there was tough talking and cage rattling. And now I’m back to catch up with some of them to find out what happened next.”

Have these farms taken the right steps to continue operation and still make a profit or have they stuck to their old ways?