Support available for farmers struggling with the Single Payment
farmers in Devon and Cornwall have been receiving support
from Business Link Devon and Cornwall to improve their business'
performance and deal with issues such as the Single Payment
The Business Link Rural Business Support Initiative is part
funded by Objective One and Defra and can provide funding
for a specialist consultant to carry out an 'Action
Plan' for individual farms. Through one to one consultancy
visits, farmers can discuss the SPS issues directly relevant
to their business. The consultant provides an initial analysis
of the financial and physical performance of the business,
updates the SPS calculation and assesses the impact on the
business. They will also make recommendations for the future
and signpost further areas of support.
James Bolitho, who owns Wilton Farm near Liskeard has been
working with consultant Tim Manhire and said the 'Action
Plan' was of enormous benefit to the farm. "The
consultancy work has been central to the success of the farm
but I wouldn't have been able to fund it on my own.
I only bought the farm in December 2002 so when it came to
the single farm payment – I had no history to enable
me to claim. But Tim was able to make an application to the
National Reserve for me, partly based on the Action Plan and
budgets and secure a good subsidy payment to safeguard the
James continued: "In farming today, there is always
a new scheme being announced which means more paperwork and
if you don't get that right, your business will be at
a disadvantage. I have had great benefit from the help I've
received from Tim and Business Link and, as it is, the farm
has been a success so far and we're developing the business
strategy for the future."
After starting with the Action Plan, James has gone on to
use the Rural Business Support Initiative to help fund further
work with Tim. The 'Business Support' scheme part
funds ongoing consultancy support for farmers who wish to
improve their business performance or who wish to diversify
part or all of their business away from farming.
Tim Manhire, of Tim Manhire Agricultural Consultancy Ltd
said: "I help James with a whole range of issues
from business planning to cashflow and budgets. We meet up
every six weeks to monitor the performance of the business
plan against the budget and evaluate whether we are still
on course. We constantly assess how the business can go forward;
James comes up with what he sees to be the best market opportunities
and my job is to make it work profitably for the farm."
Tim continued: "For instance, we are currently
looking at the enterprise mix and assessing which is the best
way for the farm to go forward. When James started at Wilton
Farm, the business was very subsidy based, however today with
subsidies decoupled from production, decisions that were correct
then in relation to increasing stock numbers must be questioned
now. Because James hasn't got a high stocking rate,
he's looking into the possibility of farming organically.
This means that in the future he could produce beef and lamb
for the organic market and receive a premium price, thereby
reducing his reliance on subsidies."
Zoe Fox, contract manager with Business Link explains: "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 Rural
Business Support Initiative is there to help in this process,
whether through one to one support on farm visits or ongoing
For further information please contact Maxine McAdams on 01566
771862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Business Support
Initiative through the European Agricultural Guidance and
Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and
land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin
Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635134 before
commencing development as there are now only limited funds
available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural
sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
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.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439