Farming has had its challenges over the last decade, but it may yet be looked back on as a privileged business environment. As the cushion of CAP starts to deflate combined with global commodity volatility and changing weather patterns, on-farm business profitability will need to be reassessed.
It will take a change of mindset. It may also mean embracing new technologies, gaining new skills and applying new business principles to compete on global markets – as well as to fulfil the industry’s obligations to reach Net Zero.
To support our members to navigate this new era, we are introducing two Farm Business Management Groups (Benchmarking) to benchmark and learn from each other and the industry.
These will be run in conjunction with Gavin Dick, who is Head of Mixed Farms at Agri-Epi and an independent consultant supporting businesses to link farming and the environment at whole farm level; with support from Julie Clark, Knowledge Exchange Senior Manager at AHDB.
The focus will be on how to optimise land, resources and market opportunities, finding fresh income to replace support payments and proactive environmental management to mitigate climate change.
Through measuring and monitoring technical efficiency, cost of production, performance and environmental activity, the aim is to instil further confidence in members’ management and decision-making.
The groups will start with financial benchmarking using the Farmbench tool (Farmbench – a farm business comparison tool | AHDB). Once Scottish Government has determined the tool that they are going to use, there will also be the potential to introduce carbon benchmarking.
The true value will come from the discussion and sharing of experiences and learnings around these, coupled with external industry expertise and analysis. The most successful benchmarking groups are those that openly share their figures from the beginning, and like all Scottish Agronomy groups, we will be creating a trusted environment in which to do this.
The topics to measure and discuss will be self-selected by each group to be most relevant and valuable to the businesses involved, and each group will decide on a whole farm – which is more time consuming but gives a more accurate picture – or an arable enterprise approach. With two groups running simultaneously, there will also be a great opportunity to cross over and learn from each other.
We are holding two introductory meetings on Wednesday 27th October (North) and Thursday 28th October (Central). If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Greg to receive further details.