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27.02.06
Farmers urged to seek advice as entitlement statements are delivered

Following Defra's announcement that they are sending out notification of the SFP entitlements to all farmers over the coming weeks, and their indication that the much needed 2005 payments would follow by the end of the March, farmers will now be able to plan their futures based on more definitive information.

Since the introduction of the Defra funded Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS) in October, many of the farmers who have taken advantage of the meetings and workshops held under the scheme have clearly indicated that they were waiting for such information before making the business decisions to address their long term futures.

FBAS, managed by Business Link in the South West, aims to help farmers to gain a better understanding of the financial impact of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and give guidance on how they can respond to such issues and discuss options. Such support, help and advice is being delivered through a combination of meetings addressing specific SPS issues, highlighting the implications to the business and giving directions on the way forward. Over 20 meetings have been held in the South West to date with many more planned over the coming months – details of future events can be seen on www.sw-gateway.com.

These group meetings are being supported by the provision of individual clinics and the availability of one to one farm visits, delivered by the Business Link network of approved farm consultants and it is this area of work where Business Link expect an upsurge in demand now the entitlement information is to be finally available.

The one to one farm consultancy visits allows the farmer to discuss the SPS issues directly pertinent to their business. The consultant examines the business in terms of financial and physical performance, updates the SPS calculation and assesses the impact on the business. Finally they will make recommendations on the way forward and signpost to other support measures available. The emphasis at all stages of the process is based on the farmer's own aspirations and objectives. Advice is given accordingly together with a brief report for the farmer's future reference.

Gary Ensor, FBAS regional manager with Business Link explains: "With close to 1000 farmers having taken advantage of the service across the SW region since its introduction in October, it is clear that many farmers are looking for support and advice to make the right decision for their business. Having the definitive entitlement statements will enable farmers to look at the future based on more accurate information and the Farm Business Advice Service is there to help in this process whether through the group meetings, clinics or the one-to-one on farm visits."

To attend a meeting or to register your interest in taking advantage of a one-to-one farm visit please contact Business Link on 0845 600 9966.

For further information please contact press officer Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally it provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA. Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. It is responsible for planning and funding high-quality vocational education and training for everyone. It has a single goal: to improve the skills of England's young people and adults to world-class standards. It's vision is that by 2010, young people and adults in England have the knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. Established in 2001 the LSC works nationally, regionally and locally from a network of offices across the country.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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