I have practised as a rural business consultant for over 30 years and started my own company in 2004. My specialisms are renewable energy, strategic financial planning, rural diversification and grant funding.
I started my career working on the family’s 1000 acre arable, pig and beef farm and subsequently completed my degree in Agricultural Economics at Reading University followed by an HND in Advanced Farm Management at the Royal Agricultural College. The next couple of years were spent farming a 2000 acre arable farm in Cambridgeshire and in 1985 I joined Andersons where I became an equity Partner. I then joined Savills in 2002 as Andersons became part of the acquisition of Savills South & West.
I am a member of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) and sit on the following committees:
- Business Management Division of BIAC Country Land & Business Association
- Wiltshire Branch Committee (ex-Chairman)
- Council (regional representative and regional advocate for the south west on renewable energy)
- National Business & Rural Economy Committee
- National Policy Committee
- National Working Party on Renewable Energy
I was named Farm Adviser of the Year by Farmers Weekly in 2011.
When not working I enjoy playing tennis, watching rugby, listening to music and strumming my guitar.
My background is mostly in marketing and sales in the hospitality industry with such companies as Grand Metropolitan, Best Western Hotels and Quality International Hotels. I also worked for Shandwick Financial PR and David Pocknell’s Design Company.
I moved from London to Wiltshire to raise my family and set up a company providing support for start-up businesses before joining Straker & Co in Devizes. I came to work with James in 2004 when he set up Rural Development Associates which has become JMH Farming & Renewables Ltd. My particular specialism is advice on diversification and marketing.
When I am not working I enjoy the outdoors, the Arts and all things bookish!
Lucinda Denison-Smith (secretary)
I think it is fair to say that Lucinda listens to James more than anyone else as she has the pleasure of dealing with all his dictation.
She has three lovely boys, is married to the Army and currently to be found in England.
A commercial asset management company was tasked by one of their investors to review the installation of solar PV on a mixed range of commercial properties (cinemas, distribution centres, builders merchants, etc.) with a view to leveraging returns from existing commercial tenants by providing solar PV on the roof for on-site usage.
A Cornish Estate had a thriving business park and it had already installed 50kW of solar PV which was plugged into the main commercial tenant. They were keen to expand with a further 50kW but there appeared to be two problems. Firstly, there were no obvious users of large amounts of electricity and, secondly, the requisite grid connection upgrade was potentially prohibitive.