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East Anglia Future 50

Forward-thinking farmers urged to benchmark business data against their peers

PUBLISHED: 12:58 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 18 January 2019

Simon Wearmouth at Brown and Co in Norwich

Simon Wearmouth at Brown and Co in Norwich

garynaylorphotography.com

Agricultural levy payers have been offered a free benchmarking service which allows them to compare their farm against their peers – and assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of their business.

The Farmbench system, funded by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), will compare data anonymously to show participants where their enterprise is performing well against similar businesses, or where improvement is required.

Rural agency Brown and Co has partnered with the AHDB to deliver the service.

Simon Wearmouth, an agri-business consultant at the Norwich office of Brown and Co, said: “Whichever route our impending departure from the EU takes, high input prices and machinery costs combined with volatile commodity markets make it essential for businesses to know their costs and be able to assess the viability of each enterprise on farm.

“Businesses need to assess the impending risk to profitability in the near future now, while an opportunity remains to restructure and future-proof where possible.”

Brown and Co’s consultants will input participants’ financial data into the system to ensure consistency, and business managers will then be able to assess the relative profitability of each enterprise on their holding and compare key costs and returns against others – firstly within a discussion group format, and then more widely against the national data set.

This process aims to highlight indications on relative strengths and weaknesses which can eventually help businesses to make changes, manage risks and to cope with price volatility.

• Places are limited. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Simon Wearmouth on 01603 629871.

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