The Hodgson Family

I. M. Hodgson and Son

Fourth generation Hodgson family have ensured different revenue streams have helped secure their resilience and future viability.

On-farm they are growing more than 280 hectares (692 acres) of milling wheat, seed wheat, malting barley, seed barley, oilseed rape, vining peas for Birds Eye, spring oats, beans and linseed 10 miles east of Hull.

A high-welfare bed and breakfast pig enterprise also supplies a local abattoir. In 2007, the family diversified and opened Great Newsome Brewery using the malting barley grown on-farm to sell throughout Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as well as exported into Europe.

Parents Doreen and Laurence Hodgson oversee the sales of the brewery and help run the farm, while sons Matthew and Jonathan run the brewery, farm and log business. Matthew’s two sons are also involved in the farm and the brewery. The family has a continuous approach to succession planning, with regular meetings and discussions with third parties to get an outside perspective.

In 2016, they introduced shepherds huts into their portfolio and, in 2019, the family bought a log business from a neighbouring farmer and the purchase of a new brew plant has doubled beer production capacity, which went live in January 2020.


Covid-19 has seen the family adapt and innovate through home deliveries of bottled beer, with social media and webinars used to promote products and the different revenue streams have enabled the farm to remain stable.

Looking forwards, a key objective is the improvement of soil health to benefit the farming business going forward.

Considering new possibilities rather than traditional farming practises, the farm introduced a strip till system, a ‘daunting process’ which involved a different mind-set and learning new techniques.

Cover crops and catch crops are also improving soil health, helping manage nutrient run off and taking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it.

Inter row hoeing, stripper headers, reduced pesticide use and introducing livestock into the rotation are a few ideas the family have also put into practise or are considering going forward.

On winning, Matthew and Jonathan said:

“We were delighted to win the Family Farming Business of the Year award last night and gain some recognition for everything we do on the farm, from our traditional farming enterprises to diversifications in recent years.

“It justifies why we do it and is a result of a whole team effort between family and employees.

“We have been very lucky as our parents have always been supportive of new ideas, helping us to modernise and look at different avenues for income to drive the business forward.

“For us, there is a pride in interacting with our end customers and establishing these close connections, something which many family farms do, and we are always looking for the next opportunity to improve and push forward.

“But there is also an awareness of how fortunate we are to live on a farm in a rural part of Yorkshire and our farming family heritage – something that must not be taken for granted.”