A business training programme for the country’s aspiring dairy producers, backed by the NFU, is going from strength to strength.
The Entrepreneurs in Dairying (EID) course was set up by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and focuses on business efficiency and the key factors involved with working and running a dairy farm and also provides delegates with the opportunity to network and meet new contacts.
The programme has been integral to several of the students, providing them with the contacts and connections to go on and establish their own businesses, whether it be share partnerships, joint ventures, tenancies or development of their existing businesses.
Find out from one of the young dairy farmers what made them enrol on the course, the skills they took away with them and what they had achieved since completing the programme.
CASE STUDY: Francesca Beswick; 27 years old; works on her 200 cow family farm alongside being a freelance farm secretary.
Working on the family farm has always been part and parcel of family life for Francesca. With ambitions of growing the farm and its success she spent four years as a digital marketing consultant outside of the industry and since returning, has realised the crossover between the two disciplines.
“I’ve always known that my passion lay with farming hence my reason for stepping out of my office job and back on to the farm. However, even though I had farming knowledge there were still lots of gaps to fill and I was eager to find out the best ways of doing this.
“I looked around at what was available and when I saw the EID course advertised I thought it looked as though it would cover a lot of different key areas that were relevant to me. I was particularly keen to learn more about accounts and the financial side of running a dairy business, along with the potential doors it could open, so thought that Tony’s two day session would be particularly valuable.
“Taking part in the course made me realise that I had a real interest in the paperwork side of things which encouraged me to start training as a farm secretary, knowing that my knowledge of accounts and finances within the sector was very up to date off the back of doing the course.”
Learning more about finance not only helped Francesca progress her farm secretary career but also her outlook back on the farm at home; learning ways to enhance income and utilise it wisely to invest in future developments that are effective for the farm.
“One of the key things I learnt from the programme was that budgets and forecasts are actually easy to draw up – despite what people might think – the hardest bit is making sure you look at them regularly and keep them up to date where possible to ensure you are getting the most out of them.
“Off the back of the course I have not only continued to work on my family farm but have also gone on to become a fully IAgSA qualified, self-employed farm secretary covering farms in Cheshire and Staffordshire. I feel completing the entrepreneurs in dairying programme gave me the confidence in helping me take the plunge in progressing my career, it also gave me a full bodied wealth of knowledge for accounts and finances.”
The 2018 course is returning again this autumn and will start in September at the following four colleges: Bridgwater and Taunton, Cannington; Reaseheath, Cheshire; Gelli Aur, Wales and SRUC, Dumfries.
Sessions will cover staff management and communication, finance and forecasting, business plans, contracts and price management, challenges and opportunities, a processor visit and a session on how to finance your dairy business. The final session sees all four colleges come together for the day to listen to inspirational speakers and find out about any available future opportunities.