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Caroline Mason: Farming fit for the future

‘Preparing our industry for what changes lie ahead will be critical’

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Caroline Mason Head of agriculture, Co-op
Caroline Mason Head of agriculture, Co-op
Caroline Mason: Farming fit for the future

British farming provides safe, traceable and affordable food – but the current and continued uncertainty is a reminder we must never take such food for granted.


Preparing our industry for what changes lie ahead will be critical for increasing resilience in a post-Brexit world.

 

As a food and farming industry, ultimately we can have limited control over what shape government policies will take – what farmers can do, however, is focus on improving individual business performance.


This means taking stock, analysing, and then working to make businesses and enterprises as ‘fit for the future’ as possible – whatever may lie ahead. Those who remain open minded, adaptable, analytical and prepared to learn have the greatest chance of doing this effectively.

 

We are not, after all, in the industrial era anymore, but an era of knowledge.

 

While making our businesses fit for the future, it is also critical to remember that personal resilience, mental health and wellbeing are just as important.

 

Key to achieving personal and business resilience, is a recognition our futures as an industry are inextricably linked to each other’s and so collaboration, knowledge sharing, and personal support will be needed.

 

The current era of competition and comparison often inhibits our natural sense of connection and can engender isolation. Life can feel like a battle to be won.

 

But, we must work together to seize opportunities and strive for a future united by food.


This booklet aims to set out key things which every farmer can do to make their business stronger.

 

Our previous booklet offers advice on personal resilience and we hope you can make use of that in tandem with this one.


Caroline Mason
Head of agriculture, Co-op


Read More

Collaboration: We are stronger togetherCollaboration: We are stronger together
How top-performing farms use comparison to achieveHow top-performing farms use comparison to achieve
Important figures and calculations every farmer needs to knowImportant figures and calculations every farmer needs to know

Know your numbers and how to calculate them

Know your numbers and how to calculate them

Understanding your farm figures allows you to compare your business to others.

 

Data is powerful. A farmer who knows their farm data has a much better understanding of their strengths and vulnerabilities, and can make more informed management decisions towards their own objectives.

 

One of the key benefits of understanding farm figures, is that it allows you to compare your business to others, says Derek Carless, head of farm economics at AHDB: If you know what the average is and where the top performers are, you can work towards the latter.


There are a number of ways to compare data, including using benchmarking software, market information in the farming press, the Farm Business Survey on Defra’s website, discussion groups, or talking to friends and neighbours.

 

It is important to know what your objective is, says Mr Carless. Becoming more profitable might not be the end goal – lifestyle might be more important.

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Shape Your Farming Future - Sponsored Series

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