17 August 2001

Lifeline from BOCM

FEED company BOCM Pauls has launched a scheme to help farmers return to production after foot-and-mouth.

The Business Planning Service was designed with regional farmer focus groups, which identified key areas of help needed.

Cattle marketing manager, David Forbes, expects about 70% of farmers affected by F&M will return to farming. The disease has already affected many of BOCMs 15,000 beef, sheep and dairy customers.

"We depend on the symbiotic relationship with our farmers," he says. "Without a future in farming, we have no future either. There is now an opportunity to restructure businesses from grass roots up. We can use our national and regional presence to pass on our expertise in management, husbandry and nutrition."

Key parts of the scheme include a detailed review of the farm system prior to F&M and a "what-if" profit model which allows farmers to view the financial implications of the different farming options available.

A national restocking register is being compiled. But sellers are limited and the company advises farmers to enlist with a national network to ease demand. &#42

Other aspects of the scheme include advice on land utilisation, and access to Ethos, the research & development programme set up in association with the University of Reading and the Scottish Agricultural College.