West Country farmers can now access free advice to help improve their businesses with the launch of a new Duchy College initiative.

Business Forward has been designed to offer professional guidance for land-based businesses seeking to make changes and boost profitability.

“We’re prepared to be very flexible, depending on what people wish to do,” said Richard Soffe, head of the Rural Business School at Duchy College.

Working with Lantra and Agri-BIP, the Rural Business School could help farmers develop a business plan for the bank, plan a new diversification project, apply for grant funding or even develop a herd health plan or strategy to boost milk production.

“It could be a project that people have been meaning to do for some time,” said Mr Soffe. “We will work with the business to come up with something that’s really useful and practical.”

Initially being launched across Cornwall, Mr Soffe hoped to roll the scheme out across the south west in 2009.

For more information contact The Rural Business School on 0845 4587485 or click here.