Josh and Abi Heyneke

Josh and Abi Heyneke

Whitland, Carmarthenshire

Poultry (organic), sheep & horticulture

DUCKS, FRUIT, VEGETABLES, COMPOST, SHEEP. Josh and his wife Abi farm 10 acres in South Wales, with 500 free-range ducks and a small flock of 10 ewes (female sheep) alongside a small but growing market garden. They are currently the only commercial producer of organic certified duck eggs in the UK, with three breeds: Khaki Campbells, Dark Campbells and the rare Welsh Harlequin. They sell the eggs through Abel & Cole and local organic wholesalers.

The sheep are a mix of Welsh Mules, Blue Texels and Shetlands, and Josh sells the finished lambs at market – they used to sell meat directly to the public but gave that up to focus on other things.

A South African with a Scottish mother, Josh moved to London where he met Abi; she was a graphic designer and illustrator and he worked in sales and project management. But being fans of the outdoor, healthy lifestyle, in 2017 they decided to sell their London flat, quit their jobs and become farmers.

Although Josh admits that his search for the ‘good life’ was somewhat naïve, it came from the perspective of being entrepreneurial and wanting to do something more meaningful with their lives, to have a more positive impact. “Health, wellness and diet were all reasons to leave London and we wanted to be involved in producing our own meat. I thought that if I am going to eat meat I should be able to raise that animal and kill it," he says, "we were nervous about the idea of butchering our own animals, but in practice it felt very natural.”

It's been a very difficult but rewarding journey so far and the couple are well on their way to creating the farm they want. They have planted about an acre of blueberry bushes which should produce their first yield soon. They currently produce radishes and squash in their small market garden, but given how much fertility they are generating on the farm, they are starting a new business selling compost from their duck manure.

Josh and Abi use regenerative practices on the farm, designed to look after and build soil health. They have planted thousands of trees and shrubs, and rotate their livestock around different fields to give the grass and soil a rest.

Trying to make a living on 10 acres in a remote part of the country is tough, and Josh finds the stress of finances to be the worst part of farming. However, he loves the autonomy, being outside, producing food, and working with the animals.

Contact Josh and Abi

Josh doesn’t have much time for anything off-farm but is interested in health and fitness, diet, food politics, and regenerative agriculture.