The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme was launched in 2016 by HRH The Prince of Wales, who recognises that family farms are the heart of the British countryside and that their health is vital for rural communities across the UK.

The programme aims to help family farm businesses improve their confidence, efficiency, and resilience. It brings together like minded farm enterprises in local networks, to help them review their current activity, identify opportunities and improvements that can be made on-farm to build resilience, and to help sustain a diverse farming sector in the UK.

A key feature of the programme is the Business Health Check Tool, an entry-level benchmarking tool designed to demonstrate the benefits of improved record keeping on farm, and allow anonymised comparison against similar businesses.

The programme is formed of group workshops and one-on-one meeting with local coordinators. The workshops focus on different business skills to maximise profitability and resilience. Following their completion, the group as a whole is asked to identify the topics and priorities for two more alumni workshops, which take place six months later, meaning the programme is uniquely tailored to your area.

Interested in taking part? 

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme 2017-18 is being run in 15 locations around the UK, and is open to family farms whose main enterprise is livestock or dairy. Many of the farms who participate are mixed, with more than one on-farm enterprise, including diversification to help bring in an additional income. The programme is relevant to both owner occupied and tenanted farms, on conventional or organic systems. Farms sign up to the programme as a family business and the whole family are invited to attend workshops.

For more information about The Prince's Farm Resilience Programme, or how you can get involved, please contact Maddy Fitzgerald on email.

Why The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme?

“It is a good thing to stand back and look at the business with a critical eye every now and then. The past week has seen me look hard at various aspects of the farm where changes can be made to be more efficient.”

The past few years have been a very challenging time for the farming sector. Years of declining farm gate prices has put an unprecedented strain on these businesses, and in 2015 the average farm income fell below £20,000 for the first time since 2007.

Research carried out by The Andersons Centre for the Fund demonstrated that the problems affecting farms have become so extreme that one in five were unable to pay their short term debts. These cashflow problems have implications for the wider community, leading to work drying up and redundancies looming.

This is combined with the background of continuing uncertainty about the future of UK farming policy and funding as we prepare to leave the EU, for which many family farms are simply not equipped to cope, whether that be financially, technically, or emotionally. During this period of transition the Fund is committed to helping assist vulnerable farming families to prepare for change, and build more resilient businesses capable of being successful in a changing environment. By taking part farmers will be able to build their confidence in their own business and identify the next steps and changes needed for their farm.

Our research commissioned from the University of Exeter into the viability of the small family farm explored the longer-term prospects for family farms. Through this programme we address some of the issues by providing essential information, handy tips and advice.