Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fund offers help for unprofitable family farms

October 31, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

Fewer than one in five family farms are making a profit from farming, suggests new research undertaken by the Andersons Centre on behalf of the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The average farm loses more than £20,000 a year from farming activities, and instead is reliant on other income streams to make a profit, according to analysis of data from 172 participants in the first year of the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.

The shortfall was made up by income from non-farming activity, such as tourism enterprises, renewables, direct selling of products to the consumer, or income from working off farm as well as farm payments.

Countryside fund chairman Lord Curry of Kirkharle said: “Research from the Andersons Centre shows that farmers are increasingly looking at their farms as a business, and are proactively looking for how they can generate an income from diversified sources to remain profitable.

“This is more crucial now than ever. Farmers must develop their skills and improve their business confidence to survive. If they do not, the risk of extinction for the family farm is very real; farmers must act now to both strengthen their core farming business and to spread the risk.”

The Andersons Centre developed a bespoke and easy to use Business Health Check Tool for The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, allowing farmers to benchmark their performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and make informed business decisions as a result.

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme aims to help 300 family farms annually by bringing together like-minded family farm enterprises in local networks to review their activity and identify ways to build resilience.

The programme effectively helps farmers to take control of their businesses. Farmers who took part in the first year have confirmed they have higher levels of confidence in their business, better business management, and stronger communication within their family.

Lord Curry said: “The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme is vital, because it equips farmers with the tools they need to remain financially stable. Maintaining diversity of farm size is essential to protect the British countryside and our rural communities.”

For more information about the programme is available at www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/farmresilience

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