New pro­gramme of­fers sup­port to fam­ily farms

The Arran Banner - - Farming -

Ac­tive farm busi­nesses on Ar­ran are be­ing in­vited to take part in the sec­ond year of the highly suc­cess­ful The Prince’s Farm Re­silience Pro­gramme, run by The Prince’s Coun­try­side Fund.

Es­tab­lished by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2010, The Prince’s Coun­try­side Fund aims to en­hance the prospects of fam­ily farm busi­nesses and the qual­ity of ru­ral life. They be­lieve that the Bri­tish coun­try­side is a valu­able nat­u­ral as­set and its con­tri­bu­tion to ev­ery­day life can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

Proven to help small farms im­prove their way of work­ing, the pro­gramme will pro­vide free busi­ness sup­port, skills and plan­ning tu­ition, and one-to-one guid­ance to up to 20 small live­stock and mixed fam­ily farm busi­nesses across the is­land.

Feed­back from par­tic­i­pat­ing farms has been unan­i­mously pos­i­tive, with farm­ers who have com­pleted the pro­gramme feel­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of their farm busi­ness. The pro­gramme aims to tackle some of the big­gest chal­lenges be­ing faced by small farm busi­nesses across the UK.

Farm­ers will be given the skills to eval­u­ate their vi­a­bil­ity and make in­formed de­ci­sions about the fu­ture by us­ing the busi­ness health check tool.

The pro­gramme also brings to­gether like-minded fam­ily farm en­ter­prises so they can re­view their cur­rent ac­tiv­ity, and iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties and im­prove­ments that can be made on-farm to build re­silience.

Claire Saun­ders, di­rec­tor of the Prince’s Coun­try­side Fund, said: ‘We are thrilled to be bring­ing The Prince’s Farm Re­silience Pro­gramme to Ar­ran this year.’

Re­search com­mis­sioned by the fund re­vealed a steep de­cline in num­bers since the be­gin­ning of the cen­tury, and de­clin­ing farm­ing prices has led to the av­er­age farm in­come fall­ing be­low £20,000 for the first time since 2007.

With un­cer­tainty caused by Brexit adding ex­tra pres­sure to farm­ers, the pro­gramme is more im­por­tant now than ever.

If any­one is in­ter­ested in tak­ing part in The Prince’s Farm Re­silience Pro­gramme there will be a short meet­ing at Kil­mory Hall on Tues­day Septem­ber 19 at 7.30pm to dis­cuss the pro­gramme in more de­tail and an­swer any ques­tions.

Al­ter­na­tively con­tact Ailsa Cur­rie on 07740 986803 or belle­vue­farm­cot­tages@bt­in­ter­

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