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28.02.03
Helford farmers join forces in new machinery syndicate

South Helford Machinery Syndicate

A new machinery syndicate – funded with European help – is being set up by a group of farmers from the St Martin area of the Lizard.

Over the next three years, the South Helford Machinery Syndicate will buy equipment worth nearly £930,000 for the eight farmers involved to use. Equipment already purchased by the syndicate, which has production in a mixture of diary, beef and arable farms, includes three tractors, a feeder wagon and cultivation equipment. The group is currently looking to invest in waste handling equipment.

Just over £185,000 will be provided through the Objective One programme as a grant from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), with a similar amount being provided by Defra. The other £560,000 will be provided by the farmers involved.

The approval of funding for the project follows a successful feasibility study, also carried out with Objective One help, to assess whether the scheme would be viable. Costing almost £14,500, the study was part funded with £5,418 from the Objective One European Agricultural Guidance & Guarantee Fund with match funding from Defra and the additional funding coming from the private sector.

The author of the report produced for the study was Tim Manhire, a senior agricultural consultant with Bishop Fleming, who estimated that savings of up to £78 per acre might be attainable if the members shared machinery.

In addition to halving costs by sharing new machinery, Mr Manhire added that without new machinery the group would incur extra costs through repairs and inefficiency. He said: "After studying the past profitability of the group members and the likely profitability in the coming 12 months it is my recommendation that the businesses are in the main strong and viable."

However, he pointed out that falling farm prices are impacting hard on individual cash flows. "The part funding of new machines on these farms will help reduce overall machinery costs in the long term and improve overall profitability."

Full details of the feasibility study will be published in the coming months in the farming press and will be made available to any other interested farmers.

Roger Jenkin from Treworgie Farm at Manaccan is one of the farmers involved in the syndicate. He said that the members of the syndicate between them farm around 800 hectares and have a combined annual turnover of around £3.3 million.

Commenting on the value of farmers sharing resources to save money he said: "With the decline in commodity prices investment on farms is becoming more difficult. The grant has allowed us to upgrade and update existing machines, which otherwise we would not have been able to consider. We are all co-operative minded farmers and members of Milklink, the farmers co-operative, and we believe that working together we are able to reduce overheads and hopefully improve profitability and our position in the industry."

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Editor's notes:

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million 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 communities thriving in rural areas.
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

For more information contact:

Roger Jenkin
Treworgie Farm
01326 231327

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

jason@dclark.co.uk

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