Welsh Government

17 July 2018


Farming Connect’s focus at this year’s Royal Welsh Show (23 – 26 July) will be to persuade farm and forestry businesses to tap into all the support, guidance and training that’s available in Wales through its unique ‘one stop shop’ multi-faceted programme,that is often the envy of other nations.

 “There has never been a more important time for business owners to realise that if they take the necessary steps now, and set themselves targets to reach peak performance levels by benchmarking with some of the top performing businesses,  they will be better informed, be running more efficient businesses and better prepared to face the future,” says Eirwen Williams, director of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect on behalf of the Welsh Government.

“This could safeguard the future of many family businesses, because they’ll be sufficiently sustainable and resilient to meet future challenges, despite the uncertainties of leaving the EU.”

You’ll find Farming Connect in the Lantra building (Avenue K) where a team of regional development officers will be available daily to signpost visitors to the package of services, events and special projects that provide support for both business and personal development as the industry gears up for the challenges and opportunities ahead.  

Any farmers who have been putting off replacing the odd broken downpipe or poor guttering above a dirty yard, will be shocked by a display which demonstrates exactly how much money and time they are wasting, on top of the damage to their land,  if they don’t effectively separate ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ water.   

“This year’s show comes hot on the heels of the Welsh Government’s recently launched consultation on land management post Brexit, which refers to the need for farm businesses to be economically resilient and to manage their land efficiently.

“The control, collection and disposal of both clean and dirty water is one the basic measures which all farmers must address in order to save themselves time and money, reduce the damage to soil and swards and protect the wider environment,” said Mrs. Williams.  

Farming Connect will showcase other profit-raising, efficiency-boosting ideas, all designed to help businesses improve their land management strategies in this year’s ‘technology corner’ where visitors will be encouraged to consider ways in which some of the newest and most useful ‘tools of the trade’, could save them valuable time and resources.

If you call into the Lantra building between 2pm and 3pm, you can speak to some of the mentors who are part of Farming Connect’s recently expanded mentoring programme. In attendance daily, and selected for their knowledge and experience across a wide range of sectors, the red meat, dairy, and arable team also now includes a number of ‘niche’ specialists. Each mentor can offer up to 22.5 hours of fully funded on-farm impartial guidance on topics ranging from beekeeping and goat meat production to tourism diversification and forestry schemes. An online mentor directory which has a filter system will help you identify the mentor with the skills you need.

The mentoring programme also includes recently appointed specialist mentors on farm health and safety and succession planning. Visitors will be encouraged to pick up free booklets on both topics.

“Written in a straightforward, easily understood way, both these booklets should be left on every kitchen table and discussed by every family.  

“Five minutes spent reading our new “Tip tips on farm safety’ booklet could mean the difference between life and death or loss of a livelihood if it makes a farmer stop and think about everyday risks that can often be avoided,” said Mrs. Williams.

Similarly, Farming Connect’s recently published booklet and task toolkit on succession planning, which encourages families to ‘Start the conversation, it’s good to talk” could save heartbreak and family rifts for those businesses which don’t yet have a robust succession plan in place.

Farming Connect Business Lounge – Meirionnydd Sheep Building

Finally, in a new initiative arranged for the Royal Welsh Show, make sure you also visit Farming Connect on the first floor balcony of the Meirionnydd Sheep Building, in the Farming Connect Business Lounge.  This new initiative is in response to farmers considering seeking strategic business and/or technical guidance as they prepare for Brexit. Available through the Farming Connect Advisory Service, which is funded up to 80% for eligible individuals and fully funded for group applications, the scheme has transformed business efficiency and profitability for more than 2000 businesses since it was launched in 2015. To book a free appointment with one of the approved consultants who delivers the service or to attend one of the daily business seminars, visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnect or call the Service Centre (08456 000 813)

Topics will include:

  • Dairy Business Performance for 2017, 2018, and 2019
  • EIP Wales - Funding opportunities of up to £40 000 towards innovation
  • How to diversify - adding value to your farm
  • Farm infrastructure and investments
  • What do the Brexit options mean for the dairy sector?
  • Establishing new grass leys - including weed and pest control

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