17 May 2002

FARM BUSINESS ADVICE SERVICE England

THERE are a number of schemes not under the main rural development umbrella, most of which were introduced as a result of the Action Plan for Farming announced in March 2000.

Many of the initiatives are for a limited period to help cope with the farm crisis and provide assistance for UK farming to adapt, restructure, and become more competitive.

One of the most important is the Farm Business Advice Service. As part of the Action Plan for Farming, farmers in England are able to obtain three days of free farm consultancy or five days where producers have had their livestock slaughtered due to foot-and-mouth.

Applicants must have an agricultural holding number and spend a minimum of 75% of their working time on the core farm business

The service is designed to help farmers restructure their business. It is being delivered through the Small Business Service, through a network of Business Link Offices.

The consultancy involves a farm visit to collect data, objectives, training needs and review options. An action plan (or possible exit strategy) is then drawn up, including signposting to further help and other grants. A follow-up visit is made about six months later.

You can apply for the service through your local office, which can be found on the national Small Business Service hotline (0845-604 5678).

For a free copy of your Guide to Farm and Rural Grants 2002, write to Lloyds TSB Agriculture, Canons House, Canons Way, PO Box 112, Bristol, BS99 7LB (agriculture@lloydstsb.co.uk)

or contact your local Lloyds TSB business banking manager.