Cattle farming family, son, father, mother and two daughters in farming clothes

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Supporting farming communities

Support pledged for return of farm business initiative

The welcome return of The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme will see hundreds of small farming businesses benefit from expert support and guidance.

The initiative by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which is supported by NFU Mutual, has invited applications from farm businesses to become one of 300 businesses selected to take part in the second year of the programme.

Proven to help small farms improve their ways of working, and created through the vision of HRH The Prince of Wales, the charity’s Patron, the initiative will provide free business support and one-to-one guidance to small and medium-sized family farms across the UK.

The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has provided financial support to causes backed by The Prince’s Countryside Fund for a number of years, donating many thousands of pounds to initiatives which have had a positive impact on rural communities.

And NFU Mutual itself is backing The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme by enlisting its agencies up and down the country to reach out to their local farming communities to help identify suitable farming businesses.

Joanne Cribb, Senior Manager at NFU Mutual, said: “The programme equips participating farmers with the tools they need to evaluate their business’s viability and long-term sustainability as well as supporting them to make key decisions about its future direction.

“We know those farmers who have taken part previously have really benefited from the extra support, which is why we didn’t hesitate in offering our support to the programme again.”

The programme takes place in 15 new locations throughout the UK, including the Isle of Arran, the Durham Dales and Gloucestershire.

Applications to take part are being invited between September 1 and October 31, 2017.

Visit The Prince's Farm Resilience web page for full details of the programme, dates, and contact details for the regional coordinators.

Farmers’ praise for The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme

Farmers who completed the first year of the programme have said they feel much more confident about the future of their business.

Rona and Peter Webster, of North Yorkshire, encouraged others to join the scheme.

Peter said: “We came up with the concept of milking sheep and the Farm Resilience Programme has come at the right time where we’ve got the concept and idea and now it’s having the support network behind us.”

Rona added: “From the get go, it’s been very supportive and I would say if anyone had a similar opportunity in their area, to definitely take it and go for it.”

Another North Yorkshire farmer, Hannah Fawcett, said: “It’s certainly boosted our confidence - it’s given us the ability through the support network to be able to take a step back and look at is as business.”

Liz and Bob Priest, who farm in Devon, said: “Everything keeps changing, the paperwork involved and other things. There’s always something to learn from other people, whether that’s our peers in farming, or the consultants and professionals who lead the programme.”