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Alkmonton Dairy Farm

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Supporting British businesses 

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Paragon has continued to support SMEs across the agricultural sector as they innovate, adapt and grow.  

Earlier this year, we supported Alkmonton Dairy, a small, family-run farm in south Derbyshire, with a £360,000 funding deal to invest in the infrastructure to process and bottle the milk from the farm and supply its local community direct.  

About the business  

The Harris family, which includes husband and wife Richard and Jo, owns the ‘Alkmonton Ayshire’ Pedigree dairy herd. Previously to securing funding from Paragon, they would outsource the processing, bottling and distribution of the milk to a third party.  

In the midst of the pandemic, they decided they wanted to ‘cut out the middle man’ and secure funding for the equipment needed to process their own milk on the farm.  

This included the purchase of a pasteurisor, which sterilises the milk; a homogoniser, which ensures the consistency of the product; and separating equipment, which facilitates the separation between cream and skimmed milk. The funding also allowed the purchase of a bottle filling and packaging production line.  

Richard and Jo now manage every aspect of the supply chain, from milking the cow through to distribution, and provide their products to the local area through cafes, shops deli’s and restaurants, as well as offering a doorstep delivery service to the local community.  

How Paragon helped 

Paragon’s funding allowed the farm to launch a brand new business during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the lockdown period, people wanted home deliveries, which meant demand for fresh milk deliveries were high and business grew at a rapid pace.  

The funding also allowed the business to reduce its carbon footprint considerably by processing and selling a large proportion of its milk locally. The milk is also supplied in glass screw top bottles which means they are fully reusable.  

Jo Harris, of Alkmonton Dairy, said: “There is no doubt that starting a brand new business in the middle of a pandemic was daunting, but I’m so glad we took the plunge!  

“We’ve had a great response from the local community. We know sustainability and provenance are really important to our customers, and it’s great to be able to offer them locally sourced produce.  

“The team at Paragon were really easy to deal with and took the time to understand our business and what we were hoping to achieve, which made the process of securing funding really seamless.” 

Ian Smith, Business Development Manager at Paragon, said: “This funding deal allowed the farm to completely transform its offering and fulfil an ambitious vision, with sustainability rooted at its core. For the team at Paragon, it was a complex transaction that involved multiple pieces of specialised equipment. 

“Thanks to introduction of the Recovery Loan scheme, we are increasingly able to fund this type of deal, and offer solutions for innovative equipment that will help future proof businesses and transform them for the better.” 

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551