BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Christmas tree grower - The Tree Barn, Greenfield Farm, Oxfordshire

BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Christmas tree grower - The Tree Barn, Greenfield Farm, Oxfordshire - Name: Andrew Ingram

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Name: Andrew Ingram

When did you become a manager?

When I took over my father's farm in 1970. But I've been growing Christmas trees for 15 years. I was lucky - most farmers hang around and won't let go of the reins. My father said: 'Right. You've left university,' jumped on a cruise ship and left me to it.

What does management mean to you?

Motivating and managing casual staff is the biggest part of the job. The most difficult thing is keeping them fired up and delivering. At Christmas, we distribute 25,000 trees in two weeks. They've got to be delivered on a certain day or, for supermarkets, at a certain hour. If you miss it, you go to the back of the queue. There are no prizes for delivering a Christmas tree late! I concentrate on administration - I don't have a secretary. I have a very good foreman; he's my right-hand man.

What do you love/hate about it?

I enjoy the outside work. I hate intolerant customers. They don't appreciate the scale of work to be done in a short time, in adverse conditions.

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