FARMERS TO BENEFIT FROM £1.5 MILLION THE PRINCE’S FARM RESILIENCE PROGRAMME FOR SECOND YEAR

Small farm businesses across Teesdale and Weardale are being invited to take part in the second year of the highly successful The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, run by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

Proven to help small farms improve their way of working, the programme will provide free business support, skills and planning tuition, and one-to-one guidance to 20 small livestock and mixed family farm businesses across Teesdale and Weardale.

Feedback from participating farms has been unanimously positive, with farmers who have completed the programme feeling significantly more optimistic about the future of their farm business.

The programme aims to tackle some of the biggest challenges being faced by small farm businesses across the UK. Developed off the back of The Prince’s Dairy Initiative, which has helped strengthen the UK dairy supply chain since 2012, the £1.5million programme will support up to 300 farm businesses this year.

Farmers will be given the skills to evaluate their viability and make informed decisions about the future by using the Business Health Check Tool. The programme also brings together like minded family farm enterprises in local networks so they can review their current activity, and identify opportunities and improvements that can be made on-farm to build resilience.

Claire Saunders, director of the Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme to more locations this year, building on the excellent response to its first year.

“The skills training and expert advice provided by the programme help farmers to cope with the many challenges that their businesses face, and allow them to plan for the future more confidently.”

Research commissioned by the Fund and carried out by the University of Exeter into the future of the small family farm in the UK revealed a steep decline in numbers since the beginning of the century, and declining farmgate prices has led to the average farm income falling below £20,000 for the first time since 2007. With uncertainty caused by Brexit adding extra pressure to farmers, the Programme is more important now than ever.

If you are interested in taking part in The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, or would like to find out more, please contact Diane Spark at UTASS on 01833 641010 or 07968 874968 or diane@utass.org

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