Opportunities from growth

Take responsibility for your development because no-one owes you an education, says Ian Tremain, owner of Anode Feeds. Ian’s commitment to his own personal development is reflected in his successful business career.

Growing up on a small family dairy farm in southeast Cornwall, Ian’s fate was sealed as a young boy at Liskeard market when he bought a goose for 75p and sold it a week later for £1.50. From that moment, he knew he wanted to be a trader rather than a farmer.

Now, after 30+ years in business, he has bought and sold over a million tonnes of animal feed. He didn’t want to farm but he still loves the industry and his career in trading has been entirely in agricultural feed commodities.

Ian’s appetite for personal development also started at a young age when invited to go to the Oxford Farming Conference as a scholar, gaining a bursary from Cornwall YFC. “I loved it and still do – mixing with the great and good of agriculture and being challenged by what’s happening globally. There are lots of bursaries out there, so go and find them and invest in yourself.”
Ian is an alumnus of several leading agricultural leadership courses, including the Challenge of Rural Leadership offered by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

But it is his Nuffield Farming Scholarship from which he feels he has gained the most, admitting it’s almost impossible to define all it’s given him. “It’s a great springboard to do whatever you want as well as something of value for your business and industry.”

He’s also a strong advocate of learning from those in other sectors having benefited from attending Windsor Leadership. Set up by Prince Philip in the 1990s to create leadership for the betterment of society, the course only takes one delegate from each sector. “I learnt most from the military representative, particularly around critical thinking!”

When defining leadership vs management, Ian describes leaning a ladder against a wall. Management checks the ladder is positioned correctly and safely; leadership ensures it’s the right wall.

His advice is to “lean in and become involved” in your own personal development and look for others to help you. All the successful people he’s met have a mentor. Find one and be one, he says. And have clear goals – financial, business and personal – without them you won’t know if you’ve achieved.