A Cornish farmer has asked for free business advice on life after the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) – and is encouraging other farmers to do the same.
Peter Green of Rosemanowes Farm near Falmouth recently signed up for AHDB’s free Farm Business Review (FBR) service to help with the transition from payment systems.
He took over the farm in 2007 after a family bereavement, while working as an accountant for British Airways in London.
Peter made the decision to scale down the business, sell 250 head of cattle and run a system where he would operate on low input until he had a clear plan of where the business was going next.
“In 2011, me and my then girlfriend and now my wife, Clare, made the decision to give up our life and careers in London and return to Falmouth to work full time off the farm and manage the farm at part-time.
“We wanted to make sure there was a better return on capital than what had been the case historically and so we had to push other sources of revenue to supply the farm in order to achieve that.
“After the birth of our twins in 2018, my wife and I sat down and decided that I would quit my job and invest my time in the farm and Clare would continue to work full time at Cornish Mutual.
“Our goal was to replace my salary with farm surplus over a 10-year period, without relying on BPS, which would then have ceased.”
Signing up for the FBR service gave Peter access to free advice through AKC consultant James Berry.
“Just because I have a small business, I see no reason why I shouldn’t aim to be in the top 20-25%,” says Peter.
“Registering for the FBR service gave me a great opportunity to check out what we are doing and speak to a professional who is exposed to various business models – some that are working well and some that need improvement.
“I was brought up on this farm but didn’t study agriculture and moved to London for my career so I’m aware that I may not have a lot of agricultural education and so I’m always eager to learn more.”
Operating 155 acres on two farms, Peter now manages a small herd of 20 stabilizer cows with half of the offspring sold as store, a quarter kept for replacements and the remainder used to supply private beef boxes to the local community.
By consulting with Mr. Berry, Peter was able to identify opportunities as well as potential issues that could affect the future of the business.
“I sat down with James, and we used the FBR online tool as well as our company’s profit and loss statement to see what impact the BPS cuts were likely to have.
“The FBR service has helped us think in more detail about the future BPS position because we still have very little indication of the support programs that the government could introduce.
“Consultants such as James, with the support of AHDB’s FBR service, can help guide, prepare and predict some of the steps we may face in the future and I would encourage people to sign up for the service because they have nothing to lose.”
For more information visit ahdb.org.uk/farm-business-review.