As Director Colin Brown leaves the Harrowden Team and enters the realms of retirement, we look back at his 36 year career in farming and turf production.
36 years ago, aged just 29, Colin Brown came to farm on Feltwell Fen in Norfolk. Any Norfolk-man will tell you that fens are a challenging environment in many ways. The soil behaves differently to any other soil type. The drainage system is “interesting”. The wind whips across the fields like nothing on earth and the people have a culture all of their own. A steep learning curve for a young, green farm manager and his wife.
Taking on 6,000 acres of black fen was a daunting prospect and it certainly is an aquired taste but Colin soon fell in love with the big skies and open landscapes. He told me:-
“I was fortunate that I joined a family of people working on this land who supported me wholeheartedly. It is an amazing piece of land with its own particular soil type and micro-climate. It creates a unique set of farming problems and throws up many successes and challenges.”
Over the years, with different owners, farming policies and sales of land; the original 3 dairies and piggery have been replaced with a variant of arable crops and the acreage has changed considerably. A move from subsidised crops led Colin into the realm of turf growing and Q Lawns was born. Later to be joined by Enviromat sedum matting for the green roof industry and Meadowmat wildflower turf for landscaping and gardens.
“I have always farmed as though the business is my own and I am proud of my achievements in instigating the original turf growing business and then taking on the contract with Bauder to grow the sedums for green roofs. It has proved to be a successful partnership. The business has grown in such a positive way. I am proud of my staff who have been so adaptable, moving around the various operations on the farm. I feel that as I retire I can hand on a varied and profitable business to Harrowden who have such gret ideas in amalgamating the countrywide business.”
Stuart Ridd-Jones, Financial Director at Harrowden Turf summed the situation up beautifully.
“Colin will leave a huge hole in the Harrowden team and will be deeply missed. Replacing Colin with his three-decades worth of extensive knowledge and experience wont’ be easy.”
“Luckily, with the timely aquisition of Spearhead Turf, we now have Tim Cannon on board. TIm is a very experienced turf production manager and going foreward he will be overssing the production side for the Feltwell-based turf operation.” Stuart added. “Tim will also have the support of Colin’s legacy of experienced staff who will assist the the transition”.