As with any business, change is inevitable. In farming it is important to be able to manage this change by taking the time to review your own business, look at comparable enterprises and assess new opportunities.
Hearing recommendations from different sources, discussing options with valued opinion leaders and seeing practical examples in the field, provide farmers with the ability to make an informed judgement on business decisions.
This approach to sharing ideas lies at the heart of the monitor farm programme - a Scotland wide network of beef, sheep, pig, dairy and arable farms, led by farmers for farmers, to help improve productivity and most importantly farm profitability.
The programme gives each monitor farmer the opportunity to adopt and develop new ideas with the support of the local group of farmers and expert advisors.
The monitor farmer, supported by appointed facilitators and a community group of local farmers, sets objectives that over three years of the project aims to improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of the farm business.
Each farm holds six meetings a year for farmers including an open day for all. It means that instead of a single topic event, showing off some general farm practice, for example, grassland management, a spraying regime, your local monitor farm can adopt and run with an idea for the three years of the programme (and beyond).
The first monitor farm opened its gates to local farmers in autumn 2003 and by the time of the tenth anniversary in late 2013 a further thirty eight have followed, with sixteen monitor farms currently providing farmers with the opportunity to take a practical approach to improving their farm businesses.
If you are interested in attending a meeting at a current monitor farm near you, go to the QMS events calendar to find out details on the next farm meeting.
The Monitor Farm project is funded via the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) Skills Development Scheme and QMS levy contributions.