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Apr 21, 2021
Over the past 10 years, there has been a mass exodus of banks in the UK pulling out of short-term lending to farmers. This has made it harder and more expensive for farmers to get the capital they need to run their business and keep producing essential crops.
We sit down with Tim Coates, Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer of Oxbury Bank, the UK’s only 100% agriculture focused bank to discuss how Oxbury is revolutionizing agriculture banking and the impact this will have on farmers + agriculture sustainability throughout the country:
Borna (Climate Ai) 0:03
This is agriculture adapts by climate AI. We are a team of climate scientists and agricultural entrepreneurs on a mission to make agriculture more resilient, sustainable and profitable in the face of a changing climate. This podcast is our journey as we speak with industry leading executives, farmers and thought leaders to uncover the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry that feeds the world. I’m your host born Portia Connie. Welcome to agriculture adapts.
Hello, hello. Hello, dear listener, welcome to a brand new season of agriculture adapts. We’ve got a ton of amazing insightful episodes queued up for you this season and are very excited to kick things off with Tim coats, one of the co founders and Chief Customer Officer of the UK, one and only 100% AG focus bank, they’re doing tons of awesome stuff with technology to make life easier for farmers to minimize banking costs for them driving sustainability forward, and ultimately building an engine that will fuel the agriculture economy in the UK. And they will do this all again sustainably. There are plenty of interviews with ag CEOs and founders out in the kind of the podcast world but it’s not very often that you get to hear from someone founding a bank, at least I don’t in my Twitter verse. Tim grew up on a family farm in Oxfordshire, in the UK, which he took over the full time management of three years ago at the same time as setting up Hawkesbury. Very excited for this episode had been wanting to pull someone in from the banking side of ag for a while now. And we got it the golden ticket was Tim Coates here, co founder of Hawkesbury bank. Thank you for joining us here today. Thank you, Boris. Really good to be here. So Tim, tell us a bit about your background and your connection to agriculture.
Tim Coates 1:45
Yeah, so as you said in your introduction, I am you know, I grew up on my family farm, which was it’s about about 1000 acres in Northwest Oxfordshire, in the UK. And when I was growing up, it was it was quite a mixed operation. So it was it’s an arable core, but with a variety of livestock as well, over time that transitioned to being almost primarily an arable enterprise. And yeah, there’s some, there were some major events in my childhood that kind of drove some of that from the really quite severe. So we had something called the BSE crisis in the 90s, which, you know, was was had a huge impact across the UK, the impacts which were felt globally, and then we also had two outbreaks thereafter, something called Foot and Mouth Disease, made life pretty difficult to be a livestock farmer at that point in time, as a mixed farm, we were able to focus on the arable enterprise as a result, and we were we were still rearing pigs in in an extensive manner at that point in time. And it was really that that gave me as I was growing up were kind of good insight into the impacts of sort of global trade policy and the impacts of that because it became pretty unviable for a period to be in in peak production. So we actually exited that market, as well. And really, you know, then became a core sort of arable enterprise growing row crops. So you know, your winter wheat, winter barley spring barley, or we’ll see rape, linseed, and finding peas and beans is kind of, you know, everything that’s in the rotation now, although, of course, as these things always do go around a bit. So, you know, in the last few years, since I’ve been running the operation, we’ve we’ve been bringing more livestock back into the, into the rotation, and under the auspices of something that’s sort of called regenerative farming, I think I think we just call it what we used to do and done and done in a more precise, targeted and considered manner. And, you know, that’s, that’s an important trend that speaks to the whole sort of focus that I’ve got on farm of improving it from what would be called conventional farming through to regenerative through to, you know, an ongoing, sustainable and bio diverse business that, you know, promotes food production, but does so in a way that we know, we can keep doing year on year on,
Borna (Climate Ai) 3:47
Do you guys own the livestock they’re integrating in Are you you have a partner group or
Tim Coates 3:51
That’s the slight difference. So you know, so typically, when we don’t actually so we’re working working with with other local farmers who, because we’re able to do that now we’re obviously offering them more land. So they’re able to expand that operation, and able to also consider the different seasonality and when they need different animals and different types of land as well. So it’s becoming quite a good way of considering working in partnership with with other farmers in the area who have different business models, but we’re actually all supporting each other. And that works with including, you know, the simple thing of I joke that I spend far too much of my time on the phone ringing around ordering up various forms of, you know, animal byproducts, shall we say, from chickens to pigs to bringing them on sheep and cattle onto the actual land as well. But it’s all about putting goodness back into the ground and building what I view as a long term sustainable asset in the soil.
Borna (Climate Ai) 4:43
Hell yeah. Yeah. I love that and you kind of got your your ear to the ground there. You’re working with a lot of folks in the ag industry and you yourself have a farm. I’m curious if you know we’ve had a very active polar vortex this year we got hit really hard in the US in Texas. I’m curious if if you guys saw the impact of that in the UK
Tim Coates 5:00
The first cold part of our winter came sort of late November, December, which was, I think, was a landing gear driven change. And at that point in time, but we didn’t get anything really as cold, the lap polar vortex came sort of end of Jan time, it did hit the east and southeast of England and up into the east coast of Scotland as well, less so the West of the country, and I’m sort of sort of slapped bang, sort of in the middle of England, and it didn’t really quite impact us. So we didn’t actually get any snow. I mean, it was cold. And there was some initial concern about you know, long term Frost’s, and, you know, damaging certain crops, actually, everything looks like it will see its way through for me personally, which is quite reassuring. But that’s not necessarily been true for everyone. And even before that, again, for what feels like about the fifth or sixth year on the row, we’ve had really, really wet autumns. And we’re having another sort of quite wet period across the whole country again, right now. And yeah, the concern about that for the arable farmer, of course, is that both of those points in time is when you wanna be getting on the ground and drilling crops, and in some places in the UK, is has just been too wet to do that. It’s not again, as severe as it was last year, but it’s still amount of concern. And it’s definitely becoming the norm, it feels like to have to be very, very careful about timings of everything from drilling to various crop protection applications, and fertilizer applications and all those timings, you know, it’s becoming an increasing challenge to get that done in the right kind of window and timing of, you know, in a precise way, such that you’re not, you know, running the risk of trying to get something in the ground or, you know, get something sprayed on the field and seeing it wash off, frankly. So, that is a challenge for a vast number of farmers in the arable sector here in the UK at the moment, and indeed, more widely across Europe, what I’m
Borna (Climate Ai) 6:39
Focusing on the link between, I promise we’re gonna get to banking soon here, but I’m curious, what are people saying about the link between climate change and these events in the UK? Is it that, you know, you know, planting dates or moving freezes are starting to push later into the season?
Tim Coates 6:53
Well, I think the issue is that I’m not sure there is a consensus, I think there’s quite a wide range of opinion about the causes. And there’s also a wide range of opinion about, you know, what actions should be taken. Obviously, there have been an there continue to be various improvements in, you know, technology, you know, through something as simple as the approach to to, you know, what cultivating techniques are using, or indeed see technology, that it can also mitigate some of the impacts of these things, that by and large, I think at the moment, there’s not a strong consensus. And actually, I suppose I kind of alluded to, oh, maybe it feels like a new normal, there’s nothing to say that we won’t see a different kind of weather extreme emerge in the next, say, 510 years, that’s different to the one that seems to be emerging over the last 510 years. So I think the variability has to be seen as the new normal. Yeah. And that means the element of risk management has to cut, you know, you can’t just keep rinse repeating and doing you know, I can’t do exactly what my father did before me necessarily. Yeah, it’s a bit more of a considered approach more dynamic. Yeah, exactly. Each each, each planting choice, each rotational choice in that. And you could be an adaptability as well, I mean, last year, with that wet weather that we had last year, which was really difficult, again, managed to get certain crops in the ground, but it was the timings were probably not the best for certain establishment, particularly of canola crop that we put in last season. To the extent that, you know, come this point last year, in that growing cycle, it was just not an unhealthy state to build withstand what we’ve got an issue with something called cabbage, then flea beetle, which just completely got that crop. So at that point in time, we’re suddenly left with, you know, a reasonable acreage that we need to quickly adapt to now, we were able, thankfully, to get that into a spring barley crop. But that might not always have been the case, and certainly wasn’t for others. And we were lucky in the fact that we had, again, the opportunity to get on the ground in a window where we could do that, which just isn’t always true. So it’s, it’s about adaptability, I think, and what will drive that is improved use of of data and forecasting and consideration and really understanding how your business is performing in its wider context. So it’s not just about how you’re doing compared to how you did last year or the year before that it’s actually how you’re doing with the people in your immediate microclimate and media areas, who’s on the same geology as you How are you doing compared to, you know, people in other parts of the UK, you know, we’re small country geographically, but with pretty brutal with a pretty diverse, you know, landmass, and, and microclimates across it in a wider maritime climate that is, and you know, that’s those things themselves are changing. And I think what there is a good drive off in the UK, as I think the industry is, is getting better at coming together and sharing best practice. And that’s fantastic. And to move slightly across into the banking side. You know, we definitely believe that we have an important role to play in that as well.
Borna (Climate Ai) 9:36
Yeah. And it’s interesting. I mean, that’s, so we work with a lot of processors, producers, seed companies, and one of the biggest things is we have people who are farming on the same types of soils that appear to be in the same types of climates. And still there’s a huge yield gap. Why is that happening? And it’s interesting to look at the data to see okay, well, how is weather driving the variability in these things? And what impact is these different farm management practices have and how is that all resulting in the outcome and how can we start To close the yield gap that we’re seeing between these different instrument farmers in different regions. Okay, let’s get into it. So can you please lay down a general foundation for the listeners? Can you just give us an overview of, of the role that banking serves for agriculture and explain it to me like I’m a 10 year old? Why is banking important for agriculture?
Tim Coates 10:20
I think why banking is particularly important for agriculture is pretty simply, I’d say, when you go and plant a seed, let’s say, it takes time for it to grow to something that you can then sell. And during that time, you have other expenditure that you need to finance. I think that is probably as simple as I can boil it down to. But that is obviously true, not just of, you know, an annual row crop. It’s also true, obviously, ever, a more permanent crop. So if you’re planting say, you know, walnut trees, then you know, there’s there’s a time when they before they grow to being a productive tree, when you’ve obviously had an upfront capital cost of establishing that and then maintaining it into a healthy, productive permanent crop. Likewise, livestock takes time to rear. Obviously, that varies depending on the livestock. And it is that time gap and the seasonality inherent in it that makes what we call farming cashflow pretty lumpy. And of course, they are quite often multi annual, and overlapping. So and I guess, particularly with the general trend towards specialization, away from general mixed enterprises, that’s particularly acute now in agriculture. So it’s important that there’s a solid sort of financial backing to support the farming enterprise. Yeah, that simple fact is probably the driving thing behind why Hawkesbury in terms of sort of the last time that there was in the UK, a dedicated agricultural bank was just over 90 years ago. And it’s, it’s quite an interesting history lesson in the UK, you can go and look at the legislation that was put in place in the 20s, the 1920s. That said, there’s a bit of a problem in farming, they basically had a problem whereby it was too expensive to acquire land for those who didn’t have any, and those who did was struggling to make ends meet because of this seasonality issue. And so they introduced legislation back then that did two things. One, it created a something called an agricultural charge. So it’s a form of security, that farmers can give to banks that says, you have a charge over my floating assets. So literally, you know that the crop in the ground the livestock in the field, they also then created something called the agricultural Mortgage Corporation to extend finance for specifically for land acquisition at the time, that was originally a government entity, it got privatized in due course, and it now sort of exist as a small subsidiary part of the Lloyds Banking Group here in the UK, where it represents just sort of 1% of their of their balance sheet. Those problems were there, 100 years ago, from a financial perspective, they’re still with us. Now, the big change is that it’s sort of been forgotten about again, but the problems remain. So that’s sort of why we brought oxen free to Bing. And we’ve been able to do that, because through the power of the technology developments that have been happening over the past, you know, 10 years, but it will also 20 years, really, you know, the ability to build a proprietary tech platform from scratch or full stack, we’ve done what’s called Low code development, to build up a core banking platform that we can innovate with, at speed, to create really bespoke products that work for for agriculture, you know, we can put that in a cloud native approach and and make it data driven by exposing ourselves to others and API’s and issuing our own to gather data as well. So, you know, it’s a data driven financial platform that we’ve got, that we can use to make really innovative products that work specifically tailored to what farmers need. So we kind of got two core lending propositions, we’ve got something called SP Farm Credit, it’s a working capital facility to fund farm inputs to meet that short term financing need. It’s an interesting market here in the UK, in terms of where farmers purchase two sort of phenomena at play one, there’s a very active sort of cooperative movement of buying groups farmers getting together and purchasing on mass. And then there’s also quite a concentrated market in terms of who the sort of merchants, the agricultural suppliers aren’t. So there’s a number of quite large players that operate. So our approach is actually to fully integrate with those two different types of entity such that our systems are integrated into their systems so their customers can easily expose all of their data to us. And we likewise then can run that product in a fully integrated way. So it’s more than just a banking platform when you when you use it to find credit, it’s a full invoice management flow, you know, the data that they see, part of their relationship with their suppliers is they can see within the banking platform, and likewise when they’ve done the financing it can all export aggregate and into their, you know, farm management platforms and accountancy packages, etc. So we’re trying to really take away what is still quite a paperwork and you know, driven part of the farming business and keeps farmers sort of stuck in the office having to go through endless reams of paper and juggling payment dates, and due dates and all that sort of thing. We’re trying to take away that burden and get farmers back into focusing on what’s going on on the ground. And do it with a product that is therefore actually really tailored to that seasonality problem for those those initial farm inputs, you know, seeds, fertilizers, animal feeds, vet medicines, whatever,
Borna (Climate Ai) 15:35
There’s a lot I want to uncover there, I’m going to peel back the layers of the onion one by one, but correct me if I’m wrong here, if I’m misunderstanding this, but the reason why it’s important to have an agriculture focus bank, or at least an agriculture focused team within a bank is that the cash flows are very lumpy. And so you’re, as a farmer, you need to apply inputs, you need to have seed, you need all this stuff that you need to purchase. And then you won’t actually be able to pay any of it back until the end of the season when you sell your crop. Or you might be able to, you know, pay for some of it if you have some sort of storage or an alternate revenue source, but at the end of the season is when the majority of your money comes in. And that’s ultimately why you need to have someone who understands because it’s not like another asset that’s giving you money every month, is that correct?
Tim Coates 16:14
Absolutely. And in fact, there’s even it’s even further than that. Because the other thing that we’re trying to do with smoothing that cash flow is allow the farmer to make better what we call perversely marketing decisions. But it’s, it’s what is the point when to when to sell. So rather than having to sell everything at harvest time, if there is a premium for being able to sell later into that season, when, frankly, the demand is higher in the wider market, because it’s not harvest time than that, you know, all farmers should be able to access those improved price points. You know, we want to we want to support in everyone in executing that particular strategy, as well.
Borna (Climate Ai) 16:47
Like, tell us a little bit about what people were doing before Hawkesbury. Because my understanding is that, over the past 10 years, traditional banks have significantly reduced their short term working capital funding to farmers, I think by over like, like 25% or something. So what does that what does that mean? And why did that happen? And what what problems is that cause?
Tim Coates 17:07
It’s a really good point. It’s true, it’s really interesting story. So generally, what you can look at the amount of total borrowing that’s been extended in the UK to farmers, and if you if you go back sort of 1213 years to the time that the global financial crisis, in the UK, there was about 12 or so billion borrowing extended to the sector, of which 3 billion was short term finance, on bank overdraft. Essentially, that’s that’s what that was. And a number of the back there sort of main banks that time the Barclays HSBC Lloyds of this world, had certain schemes that were tied to various input finances, normally with one particular company or another. And what happened with the global financial crisis coming in these banks being found to be massively overexposed across their entire business was they had to obviously go on a huge cost cutting exercise and a recapitalisation and, you know, reestablish what they wanted to, you know, how they would survive in some cases. So all of those schemes, which were really people heavy, and paperwork heavy, all got closed down, they were all seen as non core, you know, not something that needed to be done. And as the regulatory change came after the after the financial crisis, the sort of most important way of any of those large entities for recovering was to focus really on the very, very core retail propositions that they had. By that, I mean, you know, focusing on everyday savers, and everyday borrowers, and therefore, residential mortgages. So even the reasonable cause was obviously a key part of the problem going into the crisis, actually, it was a key root out just purely because of the new regulatory framework, which essentially said that it was wasn’t that risky, whereas lending to know would be called an SMB, as a farm business was seen as somehow more risky, even though actually, you know, the history of default in farming businesses in the UK is very low. In fact, it’s the, you know, until last year, it was seen as the second safest sector in the UK, with only aerospace performing better. I think that might have gone a bit wrong for aerospace over the past year. So I think farming might now be the actually the safest sector in that sense. But you know, with that retreat over 10 years, what you what you suddenly found was that, yeah, as you say, there was a 27% Fall in a decade of money being extended by banks. So the total amount of borrowing was was increasing, and as you know, essentially, in the last decade has has doubled. But that not only has that number fallen in totality, and Short Term Lending, as it was over three, and it’s now less than 2 billion pounds. That’s down a significant amount. What actually happened and the reason that, you know, farming businesses have been able to continue, is that it’s all being held within the agricultural sector, itself. So it’s all on trade credit, with that kind of those core agricultural suppliers that I’ve mentioned. So they’re sitting, you know, tying up their balance sheets and their ability to invest in the future of those businesses, looking after their customers by extending trade credit. And you know, pretty obviously, what’s really going on there as you can probably guess, is that the price is that the farmer is having to pay a probably artificial li inflated as a result on the actual individual products, again, with Oxford, what we’re looking to do is come in and completely recreate the short term lending market not just to say actually, we’re more competitive, more efficient and more informed than a bank overdraft. But actually, we can free up all of that credit currently tied up on on the balance sheets of the large agricultural distributors, which should lead to lower prices for the farming customer. And the ability of those businesses to develop their own businesses further, and make them make themselves, you know, even more important suppliers of goods and services into the farming sector. So it’s a bit of a win win. And unsurprisingly, you know, we’re working very closely with those distributor partners, because they’re keen to, you know, free up their own financial position, support their customers, by working with them to become our customers as well.
Borna (Climate Ai) 20:50
Yes. Okay. So if I’m understanding this correctly, so we see this 27% reduction, the people who basically the farmers will get left by their banks, when the banks are no longer going to lend to them, they end up going to their input providers or these distributors, who are basically giving them the inputs with the understanding that when the season ends, they’ll get paid back for the price of those inputs. But this ends up tying up the balance sheets of these input companies are these distributors, which means that, you know, they have a lot of money spent that they’re not going to get back until later. So they can’t consistently invest that money in what they’re doing. Yeah. And at the same time, you have farmers who are probably paying significantly more than they would have been otherwise, if they’re just buying these things upfront, from someone who is set up a structure that’s built for this type of endeavor, is that correct? Exactly. Yeah. So it’s elusive for the current situation is a lose lose for everyone? The distributors don’t want. They don’t want to have this on their balance sheet. And the farmers are getting worse rates as a result? Yeah,
Tim Coates 21:43
Absolutely. It’s what it’s what I would call, you know, economics Masters is what I call it a very inefficient position, we’re in an inefficient equilibrium. And we’re coming in to try and move us to a more optimal one, where everyone can actually as we say, with when,
Borna (Climate Ai) 21:57
Yeah, that makes sense. And so I wanted to dig into the fundamentals of banking really quickly, because I’m not a finance person, my understanding is that the way that lending works is that you need to have a certain amount of money on your balance sheet, which means, you know, you need to have a certain amount of dollars that consumers are putting in your bank, because they’re putting it in their savings account, or they’re somehow depositing that money into the bank. And you can lend out some multiple of that. So if you have $1 billion dollars in, you know, UK residents savings, you can lend out, say $10 billion to farmers who want to invest that and will continue to pay you back. And then you’re ultimately making money on the interest of that whole operation. Is that my understanding kind of the underlying mechanics there? Yeah. But
Tim Coates 22:38
I think it’s worth just like unpicking that a little bit. Because I suppose the sort of, again, you said earlier, talk to you like you’re a 10 year old. So if you were talking to a 10 year old about a bank, about a bank, you would say Yeah, well, there’s a bunch of people who go to a bank, and they want to keep their money safe. So they put the money in there. And it’s nice and safe. And the bank, you know, to make itself, you know, a business. There’s other people who need to borrow money. And so it lends out that same money, there’s obviously a relationship between between the two prices of interest there. And that’s how the bank, you know, makes its money is there’s the margin in between that the net interesting and net interest margin, right. So that’s, that’s all true. Except it’s kind of not. So the sort of great lie about that is the way the banking really works is the other way around. So and if you you know, our central bank, the Bank of England, spends a lot of time trying to educate people about this particular point. Since the financial crisis, it’s a bit strange, because the way that that money really is created in the economy is actually because what happens is banks go out and lend money. And typically that lent money goes and becomes a deposit at a another bank. So that’s how the great, great, great a stock of money is created in the economy. But actually, that story is not actually true either. Because that neglects what’s called the sort of liquidity regime. So the the Prudential regulatory regime that operates across banking, both a macro prudential level and a micro Prudential level. So you can’t just go as a bank go off and do that without meeting certain things, including leverage ratios, capital ratios, etc, etc. There’s all these regulatory requirements, which take it back to being a bit more like the 10 year old example, whereby, indeed, you do need a certain stock of deposit savings in your bank to be able to go and lend, you also need to hold a certain stock of capital or that’s cash in reserve, against your, the size of your lending book. So there’s a number of different constraints on the ability of banks to issue credit, based on essentially their their capitalization, and also their stock of deposits. So to grow a balance sheet, you need deposits, as well as lending. So it sort of all comes back in the round to, to the really simple example. But that sort of goes that gets there by sort of quite a convoluted route.
Borna (Climate Ai) 24:48
Yeah. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know is what I just heard from.
Tim Coates 24:55
Yeah, but it’s some it’s kind of true. It’s, you know, again, I think since is the and this is this is particularly relevant, I think, to the sustainability debate around banking as well. So, again, post financial crisis was really was a turning point for banking in the UK. What was it being the largest component part of the economy at the time? You know, everyone started to pay attention to the fact that well, hang on, how did this? There’s a vaguely famous anecdote which I don’t know if it’s true or not, which is that just after the financial crisis, you know, Her Majesty, the Queen went to the London School of Economics, and asked one of the professors there, how come no one saw this coming? To which the answer that I don’t know what the answer was given to her? But the answer that’s generally out there now is, actually we’ve got these models of the economy, but banks aren’t in it. And there’s been a lot of work done since to make sure that the financial sector is properly represented in macroeconomic models. But, of course, actually, that’s happening at a point where now the real issue is, how do we ensure that we have, and it’s not that this wasn’t being done? Of course, how do we ensure that, you know, macroeconomic models of nations and the global economy properly reflect the true cost of operation? And by that? I mean, you know, do they reflect natural ecosystems? You know, do they take into account simple things like, you know, how energy flows work? And, of course, there are models that do that, but the typical mainstream ones do not. And that is why, you know, I think, you know, if we want to talk about sustainability briefly in this is that there is a, there’s a market failure, because the true value of natural capital is not reflected in our models of the economy. And so it has been therefore far easier for governments, considering their economic policy and institutions considering their profit maximization objectives, to neglect the value of natural capital and to therefore exploit it rather than maintain and invest in it. And when
Borna (Climate Ai) 26:44
You say natural capital, just want to pause when you say natural capital, you mean things like ecosystem? How do you mean things like carbon emissions, you mean, these kind of environmental or social components that don’t get factored in? When you’re just purely calculating a dollars or, or in your case, pounds? Model?
Tim Coates 26:59
Exactly. I’m talking about, you know, everything from climate, to air quality, to water quality to, you know, ocean temperatures and the ecosystems that operate in all of those environments. There was again, sort of conveniently, sort of around the same time as the financial crisis in the UK, we have something called the Stern Report, a very eminent economist, Nicholas Stern wrote a report to try and say, Look, wake up everyone climate, a climate change is real be this is how we can start to think about managing it through the economic framework that we currently do have. I’m very thrilled that finally this earlier this year, again, in the UK, a similar report was done. It’s called the Dasgupta review into biodiversity. Because that’s the it’s sort of been the not by everyone, of course, but by many the slightly forgotten partner. It’s not just the fact that the climate is changing. It’s the fact that that and other activities of human activity have called important biodiversity ecosystems to essentially either be destroyed come under threat, or be at the risk of, you know, being destroyed and under threat. So and, you know, in many of those, we are sort of, you know, beyond the point of no return and then the ones which we’re not we obviously need to act swiftly and quickly, to do something about that, whilst meeting all of the normal challenges of of economies, right. So which is, you know, can be as simple as feed the population, right, which is growing it not only is it growing in in absolute numbers, it’s also growing in calorific demand. So, there are more people who want who wants to eat more, quite simply. So we need to meet that challenge. And we need to do that in a way that is not destructive to this planet that we all live on.
Borna (Climate Ai) 28:33
Yeah. Let’s dig in there a little bit more like this. So how do you see you’re in Oxford, his role as a sustainability or climate actor and all this because you guys are doing some pretty innovative stuff on that front? So would you mind speaking a little bit more to that? Before it
Tim Coates 28:47
Sounds like I get all moralizing or anything, I think it’s really important to think it’s really important to meet people where they are, you know, I’m not a great one for going around saying, you know, you’re not doing good enough, I think it’s really important to understand what practices people are doing now. And to enable people to make changes where changes necessary. So the logical conclusion of that for us, in terms of how we work overtime with any customers is a we do have at this point, still, it’s only one of many factors, but we do have it as a factor when we consider our lending. What is the environmental baseline of the customer? How are they performing against a set of standards, and again, it’s not about lecturing, it’s about saying, this is the this is the reality, this is your benchmark position. And in due course, what we want to be able to do, therefore is if we can see all possible and assured improvements, we know that that business is becoming more sustainable for the future, it’s becoming less of a financial risk for us and fundamentally, banking is really about risk management. You know, will the customer pay us back in the future, they’re much more likely to do that if their business is set up in such a way as to be able to protect itself from it. In the future threats, including threats that may come through through climate change, right? Or by avert biodiversity collapse,
Borna (Climate Ai) 30:07
What are the metrics that you use for that? Like what is what is the data that you’re recording to be able to measure how sustainable someone is? Or how climate resilient they are?
Tim Coates 30:14
Yes. So that’s, that varies massively depending on the exact operation. And in some senses, what we’re trying to do is not overcomplicate things. So we’re using standard models that are quite commonly adopted. So there’s, there’s a number of there’s sort of three main frameworks that are used in in the UK at present, and which are being particularly promoted by the National Farmers Union here in the UK. So again, there’s no point about us coming up with something completely new. It’s we can signpost, people over there and say, you know, are these perfect? Probably not? Will they evolve? Absolutely. Will we evolve with them? Yes, we will. But that’s all, you know, get on the same page, and understand the sort of baseline where we are now, and seek for improvements. And I’ll give a really specific example. But you know, something that’s really important is nitrogen use efficiency. That’s something that’s, you know, we take a view on, and if we can see improvements over time, one, it should be generally leading to less of a financial demand on the farmer customer. But secondly, it’s a key important policy strand for for everyone from the farmer through to us through to the government, who obviously wants to reduce the general risk of nitrate leakage in the UK in terms of water quality, but also nitrous oxide emissions more generally, as a greenhouse gas. So that’s just one small area of what we actually look into. And it’s sort of speaks fundamentally to our kind of our position I was going it was talking about sort of a bit earlier of, you know, we built we built a tech and data enabled platform, so that we can allow things like important data points like that to be there, that frees up our customer facing relationship manager team to be able to have really important conversations about enterprise management with with the farmer. So you know, how are they going to do things across the whole operation, but including in this particular space, letting the tech in the data do what tech and data do best? For big numbers, frankly, yeah, and let people do what people do best, which is, you know, build up, build a long term relationship with the customer. And I
Borna (Climate Ai) 32:09
Think that’s a really important point, because that’s something that you guys are doing very uniquely is that, in some cases, folks are probably recording, and it’s an added step for them. But in a lot of cases, it’s, it’s happening through the platform, so it’s just automated, it’s like, they don’t have to do anything extra, the data is being gathered on its own correct.
Tim Coates 32:24
And that’s exactly, exactly it. So, you know, a simple thing is, is that so if we just if we just talk about nitrogen fertilizer, as we’re talking about it, you know, if someone is purchasing that through a supplier on our platform, as it comes in, we can read that we know it, we know about the agronomic you know, and enterprise data of the farm, which we’ve gathered them when they became a customer. So actually, we can start to do our own calculation based on, you know, what they’re buying. And based on what we know, they’re applying, as I say, it’s that full integration across those various different bits of software they’re currently using, including their file management. So again, it’s not like this, you know, don’t want to be the position of making it difficult, we should be making it easy. And again, that we that’s what we can do, as you say, with with our data approach with the platform, is make that easy for our customer, to be able to give us that data which we can, you know, use to again, in time build up a performance score of probably do benchmarking and and, you know, support them with, with plans to improve their performance.
Borna (Climate Ai) 33:15
And so let’s get let’s get tangible with this. It’s just like an app that a farmer has on their phone, and they’re just going in there saying, Okay, I need this type of nitrogen and this type of seed, and then they’re making that purchase, and it’s getting shipped to them, like what is what is the actual experience for the farmer,
Tim Coates 33:26
The bit we haven’t got there is the actual purchasing. So we’re not trying to disrupt out the relationship with the supplier. You know, those are also important customer led relationships, what we’re trying to do is, again, it’s make it easy. So our integration approach is that at the same time, as a purchase order is made, it’s on our platform. So it appears in the platform as a purchase order. And then when it becomes actually delivered and becomes an invoice it then becomes an invoice on our platform to be paid. There’s two good things for us there. Again, there’s that, okay, we know what they’re buying. And we can we can use that data for what we’ve just described. But we can also say, actually, this is in line with our expectations of how this customer should should be behaving, which allows us to essentially get a much richer kind of view of their credit worthiness and their ability to afford their lending, which, you know, bluntly, leads us into sort of good conversations like we can afford to extend you more lending and potentially at a better rate. And that, you know, over time means that, you know, at the moment, we’re very focused, we’re a new bank, a new entity, we’re very focused on certain sectors, where, you know, we’re in the, you know, arable horticultural sectors and the dairy sector in particular, as well as the poultry and some livestock. But there are other sectors we’re not yet able to offer our services to, but the more efficiently we price, our existing customer base, and our early customer base, the sooner we’ll be able to extend credit into wider parts of the agricultural sector here in the UK. Yeah.
Borna (Climate Ai) 34:47
So one big concern in, in agriculture in general, and this is something that, you know, we have to take very seriously as both of us as climate AI and as Roxbury is the data of the farmers so how do you what’s actually happening with that data? Does the farmer own it does Oxburgh on it does the distributor own it who has access and where’s the ownership lie?
Tim Coates 35:06
A fundamental principle is the customer, the farmer owns their data. And the use of the use of their data should only ever be with their permission. And we have we’re working with a with a separate technology partner who have a permissioning engine, as it were to ensure that’s always the case. So we don’t go off and use the farmers data without them knowing about it. So this, this is all transparent to the farmer. That’s why we want to do if we want to use it for credit worthiness checks, we will tell the farmer that’s what we’re doing. If we want to use it for environmental scoring, we will tell the farmer that that’s what we’re doing. And they would have to consent to that it’s really important for us that the farmer as the customer is always in control of their data. And actually, then that speaks to something else, which is that if there are improvements that are making through improved practices, and we can show with the data that that has happened, the farmer is the one who should be rewarded for that improvement through either, as I’ve talked about whether we can reward them through giving them an improved risk return type situation, or the other thing that we’re looking into doing, as well as is being a data Assura, like a data bank as it were, which in the carbon credit market. So if if they’re making the sorts of improvements, that actually could be assured as being something where they should be able to receive carbon credits for that, we can support them as part of the assurance partner to do that, and essentially, help the farmer make sure that they get the return for those that improvement through access to those carbon credits, not someone else in the supply chain.
Borna (Climate Ai) 36:28
Why don’t the carbon credits work in the UK? How much money do farmers get? Is it a system that’s already kind of set up? Or is it theoretical at this point,
Tim Coates 36:34
It’s not not theoretical, it does exist, it’s really in its early days, carbon trading is, as I mentioned, the Stone review earlier, it’s sort of all sort of kicked off in the UK quite heavily sort of around that time. And that, that has led to the you know, the UK doing some quite impressive results in the energy sector, through offshore wind and solar. And really, you know, creating a carbon price there that’s really allowed those industries to, to reach a point now where we’ve had, you know, occasional days in the UK where we’re entirely entirely renewable. And, you know, there’s no longer any need for government subsidies to support those, those sectors growing. So that’s obviously been a real success there, as it were carbon carbon credits being generated through essentially biological means, is pretty new. And the sector that’s sort of leading the charge on that is the forestry sector, I think most people still still say, despite, you know, some of the wizardry that is coming, coming out of all kinds of places that the tree is still pretty much the best technology we’ve got for getting carbon out of the atmosphere and locking it up for a good period of time. Right. So I’m sure I’m sure there will be many other solutions. But at the moment, that’s that’s pretty good. And therefore there is an implied carbon price that we can that can be done to support tree planting projects. So that’s the market that’s kind of got going. And that’s been sort of going for for a few years now. And, and they’re essentially as a carbon price that that does fluctuate, it’s still not a complete market. So there needs there needs to be a greater greater liquidity behind that market. And the market still needs to be made to some extent just to help stabilize that price. And find its true value. The government at the moment are trying to reverse auction it to try and help establish that price, which is a sensible first step. But personally, I think what we’ll what we’ll see happen is a need for a greater amount of as I say liquidity in that market, it’s something we want to do, again, we can facilitate that as a bank. And actually we are about to about to kick off with that later this month. So we’re going to launch a new product to which is open to the general retail saver, it’s called Oxford forest saver. And it’s essentially saying at this time of low interest rates, your return should should not be financial, because it’s small anyway, you should be seeking an impact based return. And the impact based return you can see as is carbon mitigation, and biodiversity net gain through the planting of trees. So we’ve been working with forestry partners to identify sites here in the UK, you know, British farms, planting new trees in a fully accredited way that’s, you know, fully traceable. And you know, that we know that the trees that are planted will be maintained to meet the goal that they need to do to see themselves through to maturity and long life to act as carbon stores and important biodiversity habitat.
Borna (Climate Ai) 39:10
If you’re a saver, you can choose to have, you know, if you’re depositing your money into Oxbow, you can choose to have your interest instead of going to marginally increasing the amount of money you have in your savings. You can have it go towards planting trees, which across the sum of everyone would be actually extremely impactful.
Tim Coates 39:26
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, we’ve got some pretty, you know, important targets to try and hit there with that that we want to do. So that is exactly what we’re trying to do is say actually, you know, oxygen, we’ve come to market anyway and say look actually saving with us it’s saving with a really clear purpose. You’re supporting supporting British farming, you’re supporting British food production, you’re supporting the rural economy. That is the area that is going to deliver the biodiversity and carbon emitting improvement, a combination improvement type technology, I trees and soil health management, all those sort of things that’s going to deliver that and here’s a direct product where you can say, I should have saved that at, you know, under the acts like any other savings bond, you know, your capital will be returned to you at the end of the fixed term period. But what’s happened in the meantime is that you can say actually that particular new woodland or forest that planted as a result of my savings action, and the say we’re doing it with, you know, highly reliable partners, that’s highly auditable, it’s all it’s all very transparent. It’s a behavior change thing, it’s sort of saying that actually, it’s not about getting a financial return. It’s not about better, it’s not about life as normal, it’s not about, you know, sometimes you see things which are like, open open this account, and we’ll plant a tree somewhere. It’s just not very traceable. It’s not as big feels a bit gimmicky. This is a bit more sort of direct concrete, as I say, it’s sort of about building up a real Vanguard and liquidity into that market to really support that activity, which is, again, about what banks are supposed to be doing, you know, we’re supposed to be, you know, building markets and getting financed, directed into the sort of place where it should be going, right.
Borna (Climate Ai) 40:56
If you’re using Oxbridge as your savings account, your money is being used 100% to fuel agriculture in the UK, it’s the only market that you’re lending to. And you can also choose to have the interest that you will be accruing be used to plant trees, and how what level of like visibility, do people get into that? Like, can you be like, Oh, my tree was planted in this location, and I can go like, look at it or something like, how does what level of visibility to people having that, because it’s probably
Tim Coates 41:21
gonna be quite hard to get down to the individual tree.
Borna (Climate Ai) 41:24
But it will be their name on it,
Tim Coates 41:27
it will be this individual planting site, right. So we will always be able to say your, your trees were planted on this farm in this place. And the part that we work with, it’s actually we tried, one of the one of the things they like to do is make sure those are accessible sites. So if people really did want to go and see the see the impact, they can, you know, again, is important for for that transparency point of view,
Borna (Climate Ai) 41:49
and doesn’t track how many trees like is there like a counter That’s like going up as you’re getting older there.
Tim Coates 41:54
We’re tracking the trees, but we’re also tracking actually what the expected currency Christian mission is. So that if they have the account open, you know, and you’ve saved 12,000 pounds, which is about $16,000, I guess, you know, that’s sort of a Rudolph’s that just over sort of 10 tonnes of carbon, which is, which is about the average of the UK individuals, this is in a year. And so, you know, I kind of just kind of starting point is, if you would like to kind of mitigate your annual carbon footprint, that’s the kind of level you have to get to, and some people might think that’s quite high. And we’re like, yeah, because it’s quite important. You learned that, you know, trees are a fantastic, but they can only go so far. And they can only go so you know, they obviously themselves take time to grow in another area, we were looking extending, you know, the seasonality thing is, it’s true. And you know, from seed to sapling takes, depending on the tree to three years. That’s another market that we want to fund. So that you know, there’s some really, really big targets for for tree planting schemes here in the UK under the under the our government’s 25 year environment plan. We’re really keen to be part of of solving that.
Borna (Climate Ai) 42:58
Yes. And it was Oxburgh get rid of that guilt that you have for the flight you just took to Bali, and then
Tim Coates 43:05
Yeah, because of because it could produce the product together, I now know probably a bit too much about like, you know, what flight from where to where is what So,
Borna (Climate Ai) 43:14
I know knowing knowing is tough and makes it much harder to do and makes you feel
Tim Coates 43:19
I haven’t, you know, you know, probably more three pans out anything else. I haven’t actually been on a flight myself for about nearly two years now. So
Borna (Climate Ai) 43:27
there you go, you’re saving, you’re saving the environment,
Tim Coates 43:29
Just in case anyone’s wondering about, you know, putting your money where your mouth is, you know, so back on the home farm, I’ve actually just done the crucial action, which is, you know, I did a analysis of what was the most marginal area of the farm. And, you know, we had one parcel of land that was between two existing pieces of woodland, which was the most marginal piece. And, you know, successfully, you know, last week finished the planting of just over two and a half 1000 trees, that’s awesome adjoining up to existing habitats to create a new one and getting any new new future future woodland in. So really satisfying thing to do. And it was it was somewhere in the in the consideration of that project, which is obviously a couple of years in the planning that that was when I started thinking about, you know, how does Roxbury do this for everyone? You know, I’m very aware that not everyone’s lucky enough to have, you know, a spare five hectares going just to kind of, to mitigate what they’ve there. In fact, on the planet,
Borna (Climate Ai) 44:21
We touched on this piece a little bit. But the technology that’s enabling a lot of this change, I mean, you guys are able to my understanding is cut cost a fair bit, reduce the amount of administration that farmers are having to do, and let them really just focus on the things that matter to their business. Can you tell us about how how all this works and what types of technology you’re starting to kind of utilize for this?
Tim Coates 44:41
I touched on a little bit. So we’ve built out it was really important for us to do this. It was really important for us to develop the technology platform for the bank as a whole by us ourselves. We had to do it ourselves, such that we could do it in a way that would be that we could innovate products on top of it. That would work for farmers and You know, obviously, when we were considering how to do that, where we did a start looking around at what else was out there. And there’s a number of core banking providers out there from, from very large companies through down to, to some small ones. And actually, the solution we came up with was that we discovered a small development outfit, based here in the UK, who had a sort of low code approach to developing financial services, solutions. And they built a really interesting sort of tax engine for a number of clients out in Germany. And they were sort of developing an upper core banking platform approach with using this low cost approach. And so basically, we decided to co develop the entire thing with them using that approach, which means that we can, the joy of low code is that you actually reduce the amount of developer time you need to do to iterate something, which is a marginal improvement on what you’ve done before, rather than having to go back and recode from scratch. So that’s why we sort of went down that selection route. So we’ve worked in complete code development partnerships to develop our own tech, full banking platform on that, including then building a customer customer management system on top of that itself. And then it’s about building it in such a way that it’s all built natively in the cloud, we’re, you know, we’re in AWS, like many other companies, but we’re obviously we’re looking into, you know, resilience and being able to do that across a number of cloud providers. And then it’s about the open API approach, which is, if there is someone doing a particular piece of functionality we need to bolt on, then it’s really easy to do that. And we can sort of if if a better provider comes along in the future, we can turn one off and turn the other on without any real impact or, or long implementation time. But also, then we create our own to allow the agricultural industry platforms to our distributor partners to link into us. And that I mean, I’ve described it in relationships, we farm credit, it’s that ability, that means when for the customer, when they place an order with the supplier of fertilizer, that at the same time as the order is created in the in the system of the supplier of the fertilizer, it’s created in the banking platform as well. So that’s instantaneous. And, again, that allows the modeling of their ability to utilize their credit facility with us, because they know what’s coming down the flow. And then when that order becomes delivered and becomes invoicing becomes payable, again, we give the customer real choice, they can either at that point in time, we say either if they would like to keep it on the credit facility, they can, in which case gets booked into the credit facility, and they will obviously be paying us that back over time. Or they can actually pay it off immediately. They ask us and we are a payment initiator as well as a bank, which means we can just go and take it from whoever they meet currently have a current account banking relationship with say that’s HSBC or whoever, again, creating a real low friction, there’s some of them having to log into the other system. And again, find the right information about their supplier and putting it all in and ticking a million boxes to say no, this isn’t fraud. And I understand I know who the supplier is, it’s all fully integrated approach that we’ve got there. And then once it’s all done, again, out the other side, we expose that across the platforms like zero and gatekeeper and TELUS muddy boots, such that the file management systems have it in there for the again, it’s all appearing in the folder, it makes sense to them against their what they’re planning to do and say, a cropping rotation or a rearing cycle. But also sitting in there, you know, in accounting packages as well. It’s kind of this sort of end to end approach we’re taking and in I know from having picked that up myself. It will many of farm office is a mess of paperwork, let’s put it that way. Mine is no exception. I’m really lucky. We’re looking forward to a world in which that is not the case. And we’re again, we’re sort of here to help make that a reality.
Borna (Climate Ai) 48:33
Yeah, I love that. And I mean, so obviously, the administration is a huge piece of it, you’re saving time and time is money. But I’m curious if are people actually getting lower rates because of all this because there’s more automation, there’s less people involved in the process. I think it’s
Tim Coates 48:46
Again, it’s there’s different different situations for different products that we’ve got. So for oxy farm credit was spent most of the time talking about there, that is, we believe more than competitive compared to the alternative approach, which is either to go to their existing bank overdraft, if indeed that bank will extend the overdraft to the size of the city they need for them. So we’re definitely therefore able to be, you know, market leading on that regard. On our longer term lending, we haven’t really touched on that too much. But we are doing, you know, Term Lending for capital expenditure. We do that across a variety of different sort of sub sector or sub purposes. So we’re particularly looking to support productivity and efficiency enhancements. So that could be anything from you know, new new dairy milking parlor would fall under that, you know, taking something up to them on technology through to a renewable energy project. So that could be on farm solar on, you know, on an over Digester, things like that. We are also looking to fund biodiversity and climate related improvements as well. It’s an easy example to go to that could be, you know, to support new woodland planting, but could be anything in that in that regard. And we’re looking, of course, there in the widest sense about farm diversification. You know, we understand that farm businesses are sometimes more than just Last, the production of food, they often do many other things in the rural economy, which supports so wider a wider set of rural jobs and keep them vibrant communities. And so we also look to, you know, support projects that, that farmers may come to us with and say, Look, we’re diversifying the business like this, it could be there want to expose themselves first time direct to the consumer market. So we’ll absolutely support products that it could be that they want to be selling, that you wouldn’t consider necessarily to be agriculture, you know, something like moving into agritourism? Absolutely, we would support that initial sort of initiative as well. So we’re also doing those sorts of loans. And there’s a couple of things there which which are quite important, which is that is still a very, very competitive market is something where against the large incumbents, we are competing, we are competitive, but it is it is a tight and competitive market. Currently,
Borna (Climate Ai) 50:47
we’re short term lending has gone down over the past 10 years, the longer term has actually gone up, correct. It has
Tim Coates 50:53
Absolutely it has and then there’s some demographic stuff driving that. So and these are these are other areas that we’re interested in. So there’s there is a sort of gradual trend towards consolidation in farming. So larger units are getting larger. And obviously, there needs to be capital expenditures to support that, it could be as simple as land acquisition, but it could be other other types of expansion. And the average age of a farmer in the UK is 59. So retirement and succession planning is is a big thing. And, you know, I’ve been through that experience as that as the succeeding person myself. And there is often a need to involve finance in making that succession plan work for all parties, particularly as you know, most farming businesses are to some degree, family, or at least very close partners, working to run those businesses and our multi generational level. So that’s an area we also, you know, extend the lending into, again, we really understand what those those particular challenges are. But it also then comes into being something again, really innovative with simple product things, if we want to, you know, fund new top fruit orchards or something, you know, if we’re, if we’re trying to get into that we can structure repayment terms that truly understand the nature of the crop, permanent crop in that case, you know, being planted and say that actually, you know, fundamentally, we understand there will not be a return from that for, say, four years to pay for it for an apple crop, for example, you know, so we’re very happy to structure our agreements, such that there’s no repayment holidays, interest only periods, etc, be really, really flexible about the repayment profile, whether that’s, you know, on an annual basis, or even on a seasonal basis. So it could mean again, we can understand that even with our attempts at smoothing, using Aussie foreign credit, there will still be lumpy periods. So actually, we’re very happy to run out our lending, you know, with different repayment profiles, that could be interest only periods for say, you know, the first half of the year, but then they would actually take capital in three payments thereafter, for a period and then move back to just interest only again, because we understand that that’s the point where the customer is able to, to pay us back. We know that that’s something that, you know, the market needs isn’t really out there. And it’s something we can develop and bring to market really quickly
Borna (Climate Ai) 52:53
Well, it sounds like you guys have the bank of the future. Tim, what’s the vision for Oxford? I mean, are you seeing parallels with with challenges and other countries that you want to expand to? Or is it really, you know, next five years, you’re just trying to focus on building up the base in the UK?
Tim Coates 53:06
Yeah. So obviously, you know, it’s, it’s really early days, you know, we’ve been fully trading, you know, just this year. So, it’s embedded in the UK with its particular challenges. So, you know, the UK, we’ve got, we’ve had, we’ve, in the UK has recently been through a big macro policy change and leaving the European Union, which has quite a lot of impact on trade policy, obviously, and on on agricultural policy here domestically, as well. And, you know, we’ve got to, you know, embed ourselves with what’s going on here in the UK? Absolutely. We believe this is an exportable model to other other geographies, you know, we could either do that by going over and subsidiary, you know, having a subsidiary over in another jurisdiction, or we could, you know, again, through the technology approach, offer it as a kind of banking as a service type platform for other existing banks maybe to implement. So yeah, and there are certain markets typically in the Anglosphere, that actually operate in quite similar way. And by that, I mean, the agricultural profile is similar in the sense of there’s sort of typically family yet lead units. There’s a sort of, you know, reasonably concentrated distribution of agricultural supplies, and a recently concentrated banking sector, those three sort of three factors, that tends to exist in other in other geographies, like New Zealand, and Australia, and Canada, in particular, all of which, you know, future options for us if we’re doing that sort of direct expansion. It’s not tomorrow’s priority, but we know it’s something that’s absolutely possible in the future. But if there are other banks out there in in any jurisdiction that think, Hey, this is quite interesting, we’d quite like to be able to deliver that as a service, then obviously, we can we have the ability to talk to people about that. But, you know, what’s the roadmap that’s really exciting is is really building out that that environmental and agronomic scoring proposition, you know, so that we can improve rates, improve performance, improve the sustainability of the sector, and that again, also lead us into looking into financing options that go end to end up the supply chain. You know, we’ve got a few pilot projects underway with a number of major retailers here in the UK who are looking at okay, how to They understand how to bring produce to the consumer to the end consumer from farm through processor into retailer and do that in a really sustainable way. And there is a financing friction at each point of change in that supply chain. And there is a real strong demand to be make sure that the each each step of that is becoming more and more environmentally efficient and where the obvious partner to deliver those goals. So there’s a working number of pilots that that here in the UK that we’re, you know, hope to hope to see some really, really exciting things going on there for the rest of this year. All the while, we will continue to build out the product proposition and try and make ourselves the go to answer for for farms financing and payments needs here in the UK,
Borna (Climate Ai) 55:45
A lot of that purpose driven tech enabled, it’s easy to use sustainable. Unless you guys are making waves, I hope you continue to succeed into the future. How can people support your work? Yes,
Tim Coates 55:56
It’s a really good question. You know, sign up for this very serious things is a you know, here in the UK, you know, we want to hear from farmers who want to work with someone who will build a long term sustainable relationship that understands their business, and is 100% dedicated time, you know, every single person, whatever function they’re working on an XP from development, you know, right up to the, you know, relationship managers, they’re, you know, what they’re thinking about how do we deliver the best service for farmers. And then if you’re, you know, an individual in the UK and in you like the sound of sound of what we’re doing, and you’ve got some savings then, and you want to support the bedrock sector of the of the UK, and in fact, all economies, you can save with us, and you know that your money is going to support British agriculture and sustainability. So that’s, that’s a pretty simple sell to the direct customer. But um, we’re always interested in talking to technology partners, particularly around data, and the sustainability piece in particular, you know, there’s a lot of really, really exciting things going on out there. You guys included climate AI, you know, that we would love to be able to bring data enabled solutions to our farming customers through our platform. So we’re always interested in having those conversations to see if there’s a way we can work together to support their health and future sustainability approach agriculture.
Borna (Climate Ai) 57:11
I learned a ton today. Jim, thanks so much for joining us.
Tim Coates 57:13
That’s been pretty good. Thank you.
Borna (Climate Ai) 57:17
All right, everyone. Thanks for listening. If you liked the episode, please rate us and give us a review on Apple Stitcher, Spotify or Google Play. And if you really liked the episode, or if you just want to help push forward the climate resilience movement, share the episode with friends and family. If you have any feedback, or you’d like to add your own two cents on the topic discussed today, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do respond to all emails. At its core. This podcast is a way for us to learn and to share our learnings as we go. So we’re always open to building on these conversations and hearing more perspectives. Thanks for your support. See you next time.
Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at Oxbury Bank