23 November 2001

Core business is still crucial

WHEN bank managers look at farmers balance sheets it is not always diversified businesses that settle their pulses.

Although other business projects can add value, they are certainly not a panacea, said Simon Jones, head of NatWest Agriculture.

He told farmers weekly at the Gearing Up for Change conference that core businesses remain crucial. If this was not running efficiently then any financial difficulties would not be resolved by diversifying. Too often these distracted farmers.

"Then it becomes a choice between sorting out the core business, or knocking it on the head."

Farmers also fell into the trapof "hedge-watching", added Mr Jones. Just because a neighbour successfully adopted a new project, it didnt guarantee success.

"Farmers think if they can do it, so can I. This is not necessarily right. The locality and the skill mix might be very different." &#42