Grab opportunity now, dairy farmers told

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

FARMERS who complain about struggling to survive in business must ask themselves if they should be in the industry.

Calling for a much more positive approach to current problems, Andersons consultant Tony Evans urged producers at a Gearing Up For Change conference at Builth Wells to exploit their advantages.

The conference was the first in a series sponsored by NatWest, FARMERS WEEKLY and the Central Science Laboratory.

Mr Evans told delegates that dairy farming was in a uniquely favourable position, with low inflation, low interest rates, improved milk prices and cheap quota.

“Take the window of opportunity, move the business forward, drive up profit margins. Focus on what you are good at and do it well.”

But he cautioned farmers who were not good at what they were doing to resist seeing diversification as a solution.

Chris Lea, head of the National Assembly for Waless technical unit, said farmers should take advantage of the free business development reviews offered through the novel 20 million Farming Connect initiative.

A single telephone call provides access to a review, technical advice and a portfolio of capital grants, ranging from improving slurry storage to on-farm processing.

Simon Jones, head of agriculture at NatWest, urged farmers to carry out thorough and honest reviews of their businesses.

“Stand back, look at the big picture, keep cool and avoid knee-jerk reactions.

“Focus on what you are able to control, not exchange rates, CAP changes and WTO talks.”

  • Gearing up for change conferences continue throughout England.
    For details of the rest of the series and a booking form, click here

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