Beef and sheep farmer Rachael Madeley-Davies said the project ‘gave us a bit more willing to just go for it’.
Family farm businesses have been urged to register for The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s (PCF) third Farm Resilience Programme to ‘take the business up another gear’.
The project has called on beef, sheep and dairy farmers to ‘take full advantage’ of environmental opportunities to help ‘make changes to improve their business and ensure their viability’.
According to a survey, 83 per cent of previous participants had become more efficient since taking part, with nine in 10 suggesting they felt more confident over the future of the business.
Snowdonia National Park beef and sheep farmer Rachael Madeley-Davies said the programme was ‘brilliant’ and, although the family business was already relatively strong, The PCF’s consultants ‘gave us a bit more willing to just go for it’.
She said: “It has taken the business up another gear.
“It shows that if you are in the top few businesses, you can weather the storm whatever it is going to be. The programme really helped us do that.”
The programme also brought together a group of likeminded people to form the basis of a ‘useful benchmarking group’, Mrs Madeley-Davies added.
“I cannot praise it enough,” she said. “It is a free thing for people to use and it could be just what you need to build resilience.”
Support from the programme will offer up to 20 farming families in each of the 15 locations the chance to access expert advice and what Mrs Madeley-Davies called ‘some of the best consultants’.
The support is provided through one-to-one on-farm advice and seven group workshops including: the business health check; practical cost management; getting to know your finances; business planning and managing change; planning for your future and; managing your environment.
Professional consultants include Kite, The Andersons Centre, Promar, Savills and Saviour Associates.
PCF director Claire Saunders said: “There has never been a more important time for farms to think about the future.
“The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme offers practical advice and support to help farm businesses flourish and by participating in this free programme, family farms have told us they feel fully prepared to maximise future opportunities.”
Applications opened today (September 3) and close on October 15. The programme is operated on a first come first served basis.
Click here for more information.
Which locations are included?
Third generation farmer Andy Broomfield who runs 110 dairy cows and about 50 young stock, said the project allows a business to take further steps ‘up the ladder of stainability’.
“It has given me a greater understanding of my costs, and importantly which ones to control, and how,” he said. “I definably feel more confident, and I feel in control of the future.
“I feel when things go wrong now it can be a good thing as we then learn from them and make sure it does not happen again.”
Mr Broomfield also said the health check tool was ‘amazing’. “We had help from a professional to compile the data, then this was used to benchmark ourselves anonymously with other farms.
“This is still looked at, and used to make decisions. I needed help with this, but now I have the knowledge to do it year after year.”