The five-year initiative will help tackle some of the ’biggest challenges’ UK small farm businesses face and support their sustainable future.
Declining farm-gate prices over the last three years has put an ‘unprecedented strain’ on farm businesses with the average farm income falling below £20,000 for the first time in almost ten years.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund has launched a new ‘major’ programme to provide free practical and essential business support and one-to-one guidance to 300 farm businesses across 15 regions throughout the country.
Endorsed by HRH the Prince of Wales, the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme will help farmers to ‘build confidence in their own business’ and ‘evaluate viability and long-term sustainability’.
HRH the Prince of Wales said: “The small farms which have been such an integral part of Britain’s landscape for thousands of years are under threat.
“My Farm Resilience Programme is designed to respond to those threats by helping up to 300 farm businesses. It is the most far-reaching programme ever offered by my Countryside fund.”
The £1.5 million five-year initiative will begin with special introductory sessions during November and December to encourage farm businesses to find out more about the programme to help tackle ‘some of the biggest challenges’.
The Morrisons Foundation, a charity set up by the supermarket, awards grants for charity projects which ‘improve people’s lives’.
Since the initial launch in 2015 over £6 million has been donated to charities in local communities across the UK.
Claire Saunders, director of the Prince’s Countryside Fund said recent years have proved tough for small family farms.
She said: “To retain a thriving sector, we need to ensure we have a diverse farming sector and support the vibrant small farm businesses which are such a vital part of the rural landscape.
“By offering this programme of free, expert help and advice during these times of uncertainty, we will provide small farm businesses with new skills to help them build their business to be more resilient in the future.”
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