Farm business consultancy Precision Grazing is inviting beef and sheep farmers to join new regional groups to help drive business profitability.
Initially five Farm Action Groups of eight to 12 farmers will be set up regionally in the South West of England; East and Midlands; North of England; South Wales and North Wales.
The groups will meet four times each year and will be member-led. Therefore, farmers will be able to identify common areas of interest and choose their own priority topics for the year. This could be a particular part of the production cycle such as lamb finishing, or it may be a technical topic such as soil health.
As well as being given the opportunity to learn from peers and visit the farms of group members making progress in chosen areas, group members will be given access to expert advice worth up to £1,200.
They will also be asked to benchmark their business against others in the group using the software program FARMAX to help identify areas for improvement.
Although grass management will not be the only feature, there will be a strong focus on how farms can improve pasture management.
Director of Precision Grazing James Daniel said it is often hard for farmers to justify one-to-one consultancy, and making changes to a farm business can be challenging without the encouragement of like-minded people.
He added: “We have found, like many in the industry that the knowledge transfer events, open days, have been generally well attended but the rate of adoption leading to business change is low to zero.
“When working directly with our clients we find that often what these ambitious farmers have been lacking is the support of others in the business and their immediate peers.
“With Brexit not far away and only three years left of farm support at current levels, now would seem like an opportune time to build a network of farmers who will support each other to implement ideas and develop profitable, sustainable businesses.”
How to apply and deadline dates:
Contact James Daniel by email firstname.lastname@example.org or or phone 07534 930 484.
Alternatively you can fill in the registration form on the Precision Grazing website.
All applicants must complete a registration form by 7 October. Successful farms will be notified by 15 October and the first meetings will take place in November.
The initial meeting in November will be free of charge, but for those that choose to join, it will cost £839 plus VAT a year a farm for two persons a farm. This includes a 12-month subscription to the benchmarking software FARMAX, access to expert advice and covers the costs of all four meetings.
The groups are for sheep and beef farmers with breeding, rearing or finishing enterprises. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Actively farming, deriving minimum of 50% of income from the farm
- Have the authority to make and implement changes to the business
- Open-minded to new ideas and willing to listen to others
- Can contribute to discussion with their own experiences of different farming systems, breeds, crops and techniques
- Have stock-weighing facilities on farm and are already recording production data (scanning %, bales of silage made)
- >Agree to share their accurately recorded production data and host group visits (minimum once every three years).