Farming Connect’s pioneering joint opportunities platform Venture, launched 18 months ago, is helping facilitate much needed mobility within the agricultural industry in Wales. By helping match individuals wanting to consider joint ventures such as contract or share farming and providing support and guidance on how best to arrange these, Venture is now facilitating a much needed solution for many individuals either wanting to scale down or exit the industry and those seeking a new livelihood within it.
“Finding a way into farming can be a daunting prospect if you don’t have a farming family background, or if the family business isn’t of sufficient scale to support a new incomer,” said Einir Davies, Development and Mentoring Manager with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect on behalf of Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
“That all-important opportunity to earn your living within a family farm business is currently out of reach for many would-be farmers in Wales, but Venture is now starting to have an impact,” said Miss Davies, who added that the scheme is also a useful option for the many farmers and landowners who may have to consider leaving the industry because they don’t have a succession plan in place.
Following a series of well attended Venture awareness events held throughout Wales in 2016, 140 individuals are now actively involved with the initiative. Of these, 84 are ‘seekers’ or new entrants seeking an opportunity to enter the industry while 56 are ‘providers’, established farmers or landowners wanting to provide an opportunity.
In addition to supporting individuals through the initial stages of finding suitable business partners, ‘Venture’ provides a package of training, mentoring, specialist legal advice and business support to help ensure that the new business created is resilient, sustainable and professional. To date, 26 matches have been identified and 3 brand new Joint Venture enterprises have been formally established through the programme.
The Venture platform captures data from farmers and landowners considering a joint venture with data from potential contenders such as young entrants, current farm workers, herdsmen or those already in farming but wanting to grow and develop their business.
Once a compatible match is found, tailored support is then provided to both parties through a range of Farming Connect services, including the Advisory Service which provides specialist advice on a fully funded basis to establish the new business structure and agreements.
Farming Connect is now planning a series of facilitated workshops to bring Seekers and Providers together and to learn more about the options available. These workshops will include training on evaluating your assets, getting the right combination of land, people, skills and objectives, sharing risks and rewards, investigating legal and business structures and forward planning. Above all, it is a valuable opportunity to meet and get to know potential business partners within your region.
Details of the Venture Networking Workshops are as follows:
- Wednesday 3rd May - Galeri, Caernarfon, Doc Fictoria, Caernarfon, LL55 1SQ
- Thursday 4th May - Clwb Rygbi Rhuthun RFC, Y Pafiliwn, Caeddol, Ruthin, LL15 2AA
- Wednesday 10th May - The Greyhound Hotel, Garth Road, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3AR
- Thursday 11th May – Lampeter Rugby Club, North Road, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 7JA
Each workshop will begin at 10:00am and will finish at 2:30pm. Spaces are limited so booking is essential. To reserve a place, please contact Gwen Davies on 01745 770039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.