The Dorset Agricultural Advisory Service is threatened with closure due to a lack of funding, leaving the county’s farmers with one less source of free business advice.

Launched in 2003, the DAAS has dealt with over 1500 requests for advice, piloted farm discussion groups and delivered the Rural Enterprise Gateway in Dorset.

It has also helped farmers to set up diversified businesses and access grant funding, and co-ordinated the Fresh Start Academy.

“Farmers are going through a huge period of tumultuous change and they need all the business help and advice they can get,” said Ian Johnson, spokesman for the south-west NFU.

“There are plenty of small farmers in this area who could not afford to buy in this sort of advice so they will now be on their own. It is very sad that it cannot be sustained.”

The DAAS is still available to offer support to farmers on a chargeable basis, on 01305 215 167.