Farmers up and down the country have been taking advantage of the Developing Income Programme, which is designed to help businesses that are targeting income growth as a response to CAP reform.

The events, which kicked off in the south-west in the middle of October, have shown farmers are hungry for information.

Already, some 600 businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to access quality professional advice.

Colin Manton, regional agricultural manager for the north Midlands, organised the event in Uttoxeter.

“We had an enthusiastic response from the 100 local farmers who attended.

In a practical sense the farmers went away feeling they had a much clearer idea of what they could do with what they had.

In essence, how they could best maximise the return on their assets,” he said.

That view was echoed by Marc Fowler of rural business consultant, Laurence Gould Partnership, one of the professional advisors taking part.

“It was a well-planned and well-thought out event, and we were busy all day.

The farmers were generally very positive and keen to find out all about diversification options, particularly how to develop and make best use of redundant farm buildings,” he said.

A total of eight events took place during October and November and a further 14 events will take place between now and the end of March.

wealth of information

Farmers can expect a wealth of information covering three key routes to business sustainability – expansion of conventional farming, grasping new business opportunities and developing environmental income.

Each of the events will feature presentations, guides, workbooks, case studies and displays, as well as free advice from a range of industry professionals.

A range of farming guides will also be available to take away covering Managing Change, Farm & Rural Grants 2005, Tax Planning, Rural Property Development and Diversification.

Everyone is invited.

Drop in at any time during the hours listed opposite and tap in to the assembed knowledge and experience.