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Growers and livestock producers are being urged to focus on five priority areas to build the resilience of their farm business. Resilience key to better business performance

• Best farmers try to anticipate change

• Adaptable approach vital for success

• Strive to tackle challenging situations

Growers and livestock producers are being urged to focus on five priority areas to build the resilience of their farm business.

Better adaptability means farms can more successfully anticipate change – and respond in a beneficial way, according to a new report launched by farm management experts Trinity AgTech at last month’s Oxford Farming Conference.

Adaptive capacity is fundamental to success during an era described as a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA), says Khajeh-Hosseiny, founder and executive chairman at the Trinity Natural Capital Group.

“VUCA makes it impossible to confidently predict the future,” he says. “Yet, the unique framework we’ve developed for this report will support farmers to think honestly, rigorously and systematically about how we do business in a VUCA world.

Embracing change

“History has shown that success can be achieved by thoughtfully embracing change. But this report sets itself apart by launching a credible scoring system centred around determining farmers and their team’s adaptive capacity to develop a resilience mindset.

“By considering how you objectively score across these five key areas, you can reveal to yourself where to develop your adaptive capabilities and assets,” adds Dr Khajeh-Hosseiny.

“Currently, there is a spotlight on the way we approach farm business analysis, decision making, and farm management and the report aims to support farmers in making changes, creating buffers – and confidently tackling the most challenging situations.

“Shying away from change and striving for ‘business as usual’ is a natural characteristic, but more so today than previously, success comes from the ability to adapt to change and capitalise on the opportunities.

“We have to be honest and upfront about our business position and mindset,” he says. “We can no longer be complacent and hide behind inaccurate metrics if we are to capitalise on the opportunities that are currently present,” he adds.

Constant flux

“For UK farmers, inhabiting a world of constant flux is not a new concept, but it’s no less daunting or challenging, however, we know farmers have adapted and overcome challenging times before, they have the vision and ambition to survive and thrive.”

The concept of ‘farming a new future’ runs throughout the report and Dr Khajeh-Hosseiny states that farms have two options; build resilience into their business or refuse to adapt. Neither are easy but the latter won’t pay off.

“The risk is that some ‘business as usual’ approaches that may have worked previously, simply won’t work in the unpredictable future,” he adds.

Through a series of case studies and expert commentary, the report showcases how to examine options to leverage your farm assets and natural capital and what the opportunities are to capitalise on these when you adopt the right mindset.

“There is no doubt that the agricultural sector is experiencing turbulent times and the future that lies ahead is uncertain, but if one thing you can be certain of is your business’ resilience, then the unknown is something to look forward to and embrace.”