28 February 1997

Genus extends consultancy

GENUS is to launch an extended agricultural consultancy business in July, following its failure to win the ADAS privatisation contract last week.

Richard Wood, Genus chief executive, said the new expanded organisation would incorporate its present £9m advisory work, extending into nutrition, health and welfare, environment and finance. It would soon include the arable sector, too.

Mr Wood said there was room for two national consultancy firms even though the number of farmers is falling. Reform of the CAP and future World Trade Organisation talks leading to lower price support meant the need for professional advice was greater than ever.

He added that he was disappointed by the failure to secure ADAS and had been surprised that the management and employee buy-out team had outbid Genus.

But there were some immediate benefits: "If our ADAS bid had been successful, it would have taken three or four years of restructuring for the new business to make a positive contribution. We now plan to set our staff the same targets without the ADAS business."

And while Genus intended to incorporate independent consultancy firms, it did not plan to poach ADAS staff.

Ian Gardiner, NFU director of policy, welcomed the increased competition and hoped both firms would continue to concentrate on providing a flow of technology transfer to grass-roots farmers.n