How technology helps a family-run farming business

Digital banking and strong customer relationships are the keys to the smooth-running of two agricultural businesses, managed by the same family.

A farming family’s side-hustle in tractor repairs became a fully functioning business after they acquired their parts supplier.

Now, Jay Flack and her family run their established pig-farming business, MAP Agri, side-by-side with their agricultural-parts supply business, Independent Agri Parts (IAP), from their premises in Gristhorpe, North Yorkshire.

Jay explains that managing two successful companies simultaneously can be challenging at times, but the businesses complement each other, and customers appreciate the family’s first-hand knowledge of running a farm.

She says: “They know we understand when they’ve broken down in the middle of a field and need a tractor part as soon as possible – we’ve experienced that ourselves.”

A personal approach

Although IAP has a website, Jay says their customers like to communicate on the phone, and the family have supported that personal approach.

“Farmers do like to talk to people and we’re living a farming lifestyle too, so no matter what time of the day customers call, they’ll speak to someone in the family. We’re going to stick to that because it works, and people appreciate it.”

Jay, along with her father Paul Durkin and brother Steve Durkin were already rearing 16,000 pigs annually for a large pork production company when they took over IAP.

“My dad and brother liked to tinker with old tractors, and they’d help local farmers when their machines broke down,” explains Jay.

“We used IAP to get the parts to do those jobs, and the previous owner happened to mention in conversation that he was going to be selling the company. After a quick phone call to our accountants and a chat with the bank manager, we managed to put everything in place to buy the business.”

With the help of a friend who owns a haulage firm, they managed to move the entire business from Devon, where the company was based, to their farm in a single weekend.

“It was quite an experience, and not one I ever want to have again, but we were ready at 8am on Tuesday to open up to customers,” Jay says. 

Digital banking

Now, with the help of digital banking technology, Jay and her family successfully run the two busy operations alongside each other.

“I’ll log in on my laptop or I’ll click the app* open on my phone every day, several times a day," says Jay.

“It makes it so easy stay on top of things. For instance, I can check to see if a payment has arrived so we can dispatch the parts, whatever I’m doing and wherever I am on the farm.

“Where I can deposit a cheque with the app, I’ll do that now too, rather than make a trip to the branch. From online banking to paying bills, checking balances and statements, everything is done online for me now.”


Learn more about the mobile app here.


* NatWest Mobile App

Online Banking is available to NatWest business account customers. App available to business customers with compatible iOS and Android devices and a UK or international mobile number in specific countries. 

You can deposit cheques up to the value of £1,000, with a daily deposit limit of £5,000. If you pay for depositing cheques, your usual cheque tariff will be applied for each deposit. You will not be charged a credit fee.

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