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17.11.03
Updates on CAP reform to be given at SWARD conference

Updates on the on-going reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be given at a conference for rural land-based businesses in Cornwall this week.

More than 175 delegates are expected to attend the 'Opportunities and Excellence for Successful Agricultural Businesses' event at St Mellion Hotel Golf and Country Club, Saltash on Thursday, November 20 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

The conference is being organised by the South West Agricultural and Rural Development (SWARD) Project, an Objective One gateway fund, which is managed by Business Link Devon and Cornwall. Bob Dow, Chief Executive of Business Link Devon and Cornwall, will be there to welcome delegates on the day.

SWARD aims to help people who work in rural land-based businesses adapt to change through provision of training bursaries, networking and collaboration, and an information service.

A highlight of the conference will be a video link with Franz Fischler, European Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, who will indicate the future direction of CAP reform after 2006 when current regulations come to an end.

This will be followed by a presentation by Peter Berkowitz, an architect of CAP reform and assistant to the Deputy Director General of Agriculture for the European Commission, who will reveal details of the actual implementation of the reform.

Said SWARD Project Manager Amanda Ratsey. "CAP reform is much speculated upon by rural land-based businesses which need to know exactly what is happening in case they need to change and adapt in order to turn a new situation to their advantage. This is an excellent opportunity to get face-to-face briefings from those who are in the know."

Later in the morning Mike Calvert, Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, will explore the future of UK agriculture, while Fred Elliott, Director of Operations for Business Link Devon and Cornwall, will discuss the challenges and opportunities for the rural land-based sector in the two counties.

After lunch farmer John Lee, SWARD Steering Group Chairman, will host the SWARD Awards which were open to all businesses which had undertaken training as a result of advice from the SWARD project.

Categories are the group which has gained most from the project, the most effective group leader, best use of information and research, best use of training bursary and best collaborative group.

Each winner will receive £200 worth of locally-produced specialities.
Focus of the afternoon will be interactive workshops covering tourism, marketing in the dairy sector, non-natural waste management, working the planning system, succession planning for family businesses, and collaboration and co-operation.

For further conference information contact Amanda Ratsey on 0845 600 9966.

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Editor's notes:

For further press information please contact Ian Gent on 0845 600 9966 or 07771 631518 or Janice Brazell on 0845 600 9966.

The South West Agriculture and Rural Development (SWARD) Project is funded by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, the Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall, the Learning and Skills Council Devon and Cornwall, and Cornwall and Devon County Councils. A research and information office is based at the University of Plymouth. The SWARD initiative supports networked groups of businesses in the agricultural and rural land-based sectors. Its aim is to facilitate adaptation to the changing scientific, technical and business environment now challenging the sectors. Based on research carried out by the University of Plymouth, it enables groups to access training of their choice, source information about the scientific, technical and business developments affecting their industry and develop extensive networks.

The Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall is a government-funded service designed to provide the best possible help to people starting, running or growing a business. At its core is an information and enquiry centre, supported by a network of local and national specialists and support organisations. Business Link receives European funding to help it deliver its services in Devon and Cornwall. For more information contact 0845 600 9966.

The European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which is making £314m available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.
Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.
Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.
Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

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Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
objectiveone@cornwall.gov.uk

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