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Farmers Urged to Make the Most of “Planning for Profit” Initiative

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A new “Planning For Profit” initiative aimed at assisting farmers to ensure their businesses are well-placed to operate profitably in the face of reduced support payments, was launched today (Monday, November 4th).

The initiative, supported by the Scottish Government’s Skills Development Scheme, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and NFU Scotland, will be rolled out Scotland-wide over the next 18 months.

The project will focus on optimising the profitability and competitiveness of livestock and mixed livestock/arable farms, particularly in the face of reduced support payments following the CAP restructure. This may result in a significant reduction in some farm businesses’ income from support payments.

“Planning for Profit” aims to encourage farmers to re-tune their businesses in response to CAP reform and a key objective will be to provide a structured approach for farm business planning.

“Our industry has fantastic brands like Scotch Beef which have huge potential for growth in the home and overseas markets but it is vital we have increased supplies of product to meet that demand,” said Jim McLaren, QMS chairman.

“I strongly encourage farmers to take part in this free initiative which will help to ensure a structured planning process for their businesses. By doing so they can plan for the future, confident that their businesses are well-positioned to grow.”

Delivered by SAOS, SAC Consulting (part of Scotland’s Rural College) and agricultural consultant, Peter Cook, the initiative kicks off next month (December) with the start of a series of roadshows around Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I’m right behind this initiative and would strongly encourage all livestock farmers to attend these events to enable them to review their current management systems and make a step change towards securing a sustainable, profitable future for their businesses which provide the raw materials that drive the continued success of our food and drink industry.

“We all know that the next CAP will bring about a shift to area based payments and, as it looks unlikely that Defra will give Scotland’s farmers the budget allocation they deserve, it’s clear that there will be reduced direct support for many farm businesses in Scotland.

“This will bring obvious challenges to businesses making it more important than ever for farmers to have a critical look at reducing input costs and maximising efficiency savings. I am pleased to provide funding support to the Planning for Profit programme at such an important time for the livestock industry.”

Key to the project is the production of a new ‘Reference Guide’ which will give examples of best practice including practical, workable case studies and ideas about what is possible to adapt systems and plan for the future.

“’Planning for Profit is not just a response to CAP reform, it is also a great opportunity for farmers to think about the future and how they grow their businesses,” said Jim Booth of SAOS.

“There’s a real need to improve our farm productivity to increase our competitiveness and Planning for Profit will provide farmers with the opportunity to replan their businesses.”

The roadshows in December and January will be followed by a series of farm visits and workshops and these will involve farmers who have already successfully introduced changes to improve their farms’ performance.

Iain Riddell, Principal Consultant and Regional Manager of SAC Consulting, added: “The programme has been designed to inform, inspire and challenge farmers to implement changes to the way they manage their businesses, and has at its core a series of practical and thought provoking farmer case studies.”

NFU Scotland's Regional Co-ordination Manager, Lisa Roberts said: "Scottish farmers must plan, prepare and adapt to a new era where reduced farm support is a certainty.

“While NFUS will be holding roadshows this winter that specifically look at the implications for future support arrangements in Scotland, this initiative goes further and gets farmers thinking about how to ensure their businesses are both profitable and competitive in the years ahead."

“Planning for Profit” Roadshow dates:

  • Thursday 5th December 2013 – Dryburgh Abbey, Melrose
  • Tuesday 10th December 2013 – Lochter, Oldmeldrum
  • Tuesday 21st January 2014 – Lochside Hotel, New Cumnock
  • Thursday 23rd January 2014 – Dewar’s Ice Rink, Perth
  • Wednesday 12th February 2014 – Thistle Hotel, Inverness

Booking is essential for each roadshow and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book your place contact Kirsty at QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email info@qmscotland.co.uk with your name, address and telephone number, stating which of the roadshows you would like to attend. Each roadshow starts at 10.30am and finishes at approximately at 3pm. A free lunch is included at each workshop.

Caption: Jim McLaren (centre) Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland at the launch of the new Planning for Profit initiative flanked by Iain Riddell (left)of SAC Consulting and Jim Booth of SAOS.