73% of farmers have no plans in place for the future


A new survey has revealed a lack of planning from farmers for the future, with 73 per cent stating they have no intention of changing their business…

A lack of planning in the farming sector has been brought to light following a new survey. Lantra found that some 73 per cent of farm businesses questioned had no plans in place to upgrade or change in the future.

Reasons given for this included the cost of diversification, with 51 per cent stating this; 39 per cent said a lack of advice was the reason; and 37 per cent said poor access to finance. Of those questioned only 10 per cent said they had undertaken any form of diversification, which included livestock products, training and promotion of rural crafts and tourism.

Speaking at the launch of the report Lantra Trustee Ian Marshall said: “Farm businesses in Northern Ireland have a tendency to be averse to changing their core business model and a fear of failure and the stigma that this carries.

“However, they need to embrace change and consider ways to diversify their businesses in order to maintain a sustainable future.

“Some of the best business managers in Northern Ireland are farmers.”

The survey also found that only 85 per cent of farm businesses had completed training for a PTO operated implement or a tractor, despite almost all farms having access to this equipment. In fact, only 14 businesses had undertaken training on a tractor and eight had undertaken PTO operated implements training.

The main barrier to training was cost, with 60 per cent citing this reason. Convenience followed closely at 45 per cent, with lack of information about training opportunities the reason in 41 per cent of cases.

Paula Smyth, Business Development Manager at Lantra, commented: “The survey revealed a lot of emphasis on statutory training as opposed to continuous professional development.

“It needs to be acknowledged that training is not just for those who don’t know how to use a piece of equipment; training can provide so much more.

“For example, it’s beneficial for maintaining and updating skills and keeping abreast of legislation. It also offers an opportunity to network with others to share information about working practices. Encouragingly, only six per cent of those interviewed believed that they were too old to train.”


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