The  Best Way Forward Programme, Reaseheath College

The Best Way Forward Programme, Reaseheath College

We are committed to improving the prospects for viability of farm businesses and through our grants programme we supported a wide range of projects to help farmers improve their skills and confidence, including the Best Way Forward Programme, run by Reaseheath College.

Mr Marsden and his family run a 160-acre dairy farm in Cheshire, but falling profits meant that a new approach was needed to improve their prospects.

Together the family decided that the best way to remain in the dairy industry would be to adapt the business to offer contract heifer rearing until their tenancy comes to an end in 2020.

The Best Way Forward Programme provided the family with the specialist advice they needed to manage this change in their business. The programme, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and run by Reaseheath College, paired Mr Marsden with a local consultant who undertook a review of the farm. With this support, Mr Marsden put together a cashflow budget and drew up a contract for the new business which gave the farm the security for the new enterprise. Mr Marsden now has confidence that he can continue to farm with a much more resilient business in place.

Mr Marsden explains: "I am very grateful to The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the Best Way Forward Programme for helping me make sense of, and give me confidence, that I had made the right decision in changing my business from milking to rearing young stock. The support has helped me find solutions to managing my business. The funding and support have also had a positive effect on my lifestyle: I am much happier, a nicer person to be around with family and friends, and I am again enjoying being in the farming industry."