RURAL Support has been delivering The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Resilience Programme in Dungiven and Seskinore since September 2022, supporting 34 farming families to improve their business and environmental sustainbility.
The Farm Resilience Programme has helped the family farms of the participants involved to explore new ideas that could practically and financially benefit their business.
Through the free programme, worth more than £2,000 per farm, those involved have been able to access a series of workshops delivered by expert consultants and one-to-one support, including:
n A business health check;
n Reducing waste, reducing costs;
n Understanding your farm accounts;
n Your farm and the environment;
n Planning for your future;
n Business planning and managing change.
Feedback from those who took part in the Farm Resilience Programme this year showed that 98 per cent thought the workshops met their expectations. Before taking part, 51 per cent of farmers rated their knowledge of the workshop topics as poor or basic, but on programme completion 91 per cent had more knowledge and of these 44 per cent said they had “good” or “very good” knowledge.
The benefits of the FRP are often long term, with an evaluation of the programme since 2016 finding that 73 per cent of farmers reported improved business skills and 58 per cent of farmers reported increases in profitability.
Rural Support Farm Support Coordinator Barbara Alcorn said: “The Farm Resilience Programme has encouraged the participants to look at new and different ways to benefit their family farm and business practically and financially.
“Thanks to The Prince’s Countryside Fund, through the free workshops, participants have been able to review their financial performance so that they understand their business strengths and areas of improvement, explore environmental opportunities that can practically and financially benefit their farm, improve their confidence by having the tools to explore new opportunities or make changes to their business and create a local network. It has been a fantastic programme to help deliver as part of the Rural Support team.”
n To find out more about the range of services and programmes available at Rural Support, go to the NI Farm Support hub at www.ruralsupport.org.uk or telephone the Support Line on Freephone 0800 138 1678, available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm.
n To find out more about the work of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, please visit www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk
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