National Trust tenants are to be offered free business training through the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme as part of a pioneering new initiative championed by the Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA).
Although the exact detail of the scheme has not yet been finalised, a pilot is expected to give 60 farm tenants in the North West, North Wales, the Midlands and the South West access to the programme, which is organised by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.
Successful applicants will take part in a series of seven workshops focused on different business skills to maximise profitability and resilience.
Topics covered include business planning, understanding accounts and budgeting, managing the farmed environment and exploring new opportunities.
Farms will also receive one-to-one support to use a ‘business health check tool’ which looks at their strengths and weaknesses and benchmarks costs against similar farms.
TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes with both the National Trust and the Fund to bring this to fruition, and we are delighted an agreement has been reached to pilot this initiative in four areas starting this autumn.
“Whilst these areas focus predominantly on the uplands, the expectation is that, subject to the success of the pilot, further areas and farm types will be looked at.
“Feedback from those who have engaged with the programme to date has been excellent. I have no doubt National Trust tenants will gain much from participating in the programme.”
The only involvement the National Trust will have in the scheme is funding the places for tenants.
It will not choose which tenants take part or be provided with any information about who is selected.
The scheme will launch in summer and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Mr Dunn said: “It is not often that such a high-quality programme is made available on a free of charge basis and I am delighted the National Trust has taken the decision to invest in its tenant farmers in this way.”