RURAL Support has been successful in securing the tender to deliver a pilot farm business sustainability programme as part of CAFRE’s Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) programme.
The pilot, as part of CAFRE’s Farm Family Key Skills Programme, will see the organisation and its team of business, financial and technical mentors and trainers working one to one and in small group workshop settings with 50 farm businesses across Northern Ireland to assist in decision making to improve the sustainability of the farm business in the short to medium term.
Farming continues to become increasingly complex, and the future will continue to bring substantial challenges for farm businesses and families – whether relating to market fluctuations due to the impact of Brexit and Covid-19, changes in support mechanisms or increasing focus on environmental issues. These, along with other factors outside the control of the farmer, are leading to greater pressure and stress on the farm enterprise, the farmer, and the farming family.
This new programme will help to tackle these pressures and provide direct support to farm businesses through addressing three key areas impacting on the sustainability of the farm business: business management, environment, and the farm family.
Welcoming Minister Edwin Poots to Rural Support’s offices at the CAFRE Loughry campus, Deputy Chairperson of Rural Support, Derek Lough, said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister Poots to Rural Support today to launch the Farm Business Sustainability Pilot programme.
“This programme provides a unique opportunity for farmers to develop clear action plans for their business to help build sustainability and efficiencies at a time when the agriculture sector is under increasing levels of strain.
“This approach will help farm enterprises to focus on the areas they can control and build strength within the farming family and builds upon other programmes and services available within Rural Support.”
Speaking at the launch event, Mr Poots said: “This pilot, delivered through the CAFRE Farm Families Key Skills programme, will support 50 farmers to critically assess their business performance and identify achievable goals to build business sustainability into the future.
“I am very pleased that Rural Support secured the tender as the expertise and work that they do on the ground for farmers and farming families is very important.”
Led by Gillian Reid, Head of Farm Support, and her team, most of the delivery will happen within the next 12 months. Recruitment of farmers has already started and the first workshops will take place in early March.
There are still a limited number of places available on the programme and anyone interested in planning for the future should contact Rural Support by this Friday (February 25).
n For more information about programmes and services provided by Rural Support, go to the Northern Ireland Farm Support Hub at www.ruralsupport.org.uk or freephone 0800 138 1678.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.