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 Agrihive

The Changing Face of UK Dairy Farming

 

Agrihive Case Study Competition

 

 

The requirement to change, in whatever environment, is often perceived as a criticism. However change is a necessity, particularly so in the dairy sector where production is currently out of kilter with demand and issues of profitability, succession planning and management are ongoing problems for many dairy farming businesses.

 

Anyone involved in agriculture will be only too well aware of the feeling that we are going “around in circles” when it comes to volatile commodity pricing and being price takers rather than price makers. In order to move the industry forward we must challenge conventional thinking and be prepared for some honest and sometimes, uncomfortable, discussions such as the need to become consumer focused rather than production driven.

 

These were just a small selection of the hard hitting statements from the speakers at the Agrihive UK Dairy Summit held in London.

 

You can watch the proceedings at YouTube Agrihive UK Dairy Business Summit 2015.

 

As a farmer owned business, Mole Valley Farmers was pleased to support this event, as we are very well aware of the challenges facing farmers in this current climate. We believe we must encourage business innovation, and challenge current thinking by looking at ways to add value to farming, for future success and sustainability.

 

Who and what is Agrihive?

Agrihive is an initiative developed by Australian James Walker, a fi fth generation farmer from Longreach, Queensland. James founded Agrihive which “tackles crisis points in global agriculture generating actionable ideas” following declining terms of trade at the farm gate during one of the worst droughts in Australian history.

 

The UK Dairy Summit

The UK Dairy Summit was organised by Agrihive UK, and led by Cumbrian dairy farmer Robert Craig, regional bank manager Neil  Wilson, farm business consultant Heather Wildman and farm accountant Rob Hitch,with support and input from James Walker and a number of sponsors including Mole Valley Farmers.

The event had a number of objectives, which included representation and views from the textile and IT industries. Another key component of Agrihive’s focus is enhanced financial literacy.

 

Attendees were provided with some useful additional challenges:

 

• Do we accept the need to challenge conventional thinking to move the industry forward?

• Do we really understand our production costs?

• Are we maximising returns with our current contracts?

• Are we producing what our customer wants?

• What sort of relationship do you have with your bank manager and accountant?

• Do you treat them as partners/coinvestors and do they meet with you often enough to really understand your business?

 

Case Study Competition - WIN Two Return Tickets to Queensland Australia

To stimulate discussion and challenge the status quo, a challenge has been created around the fictional “Kidworth Dairy  Farm”. 

 

The Case Study Challenge is on “Kidworth” a traditional family dairy farm, exhibiting the challenges experienced by many farming businesses today, including financial and successional issues. It is hoped the case study will create some fresh ideas and identify new opportunities and help to ‘future proof’ the fictional farm’s cash flows and balance sheets. 

 

The challenges could include: 
 

• What should this business look like to be competitive in a volatile global market?   

• How does this business pass from one generation to the next?
• Is the burden of succession and land ownership holding British dairy farming back and if so, why? 

• How can this business get through to the next upturn in prices? 

• How can it reorganise to have long term sustainability? 

• If this is representative of a typical UK family dairy farm, then what is fundamentally fl awed with the structure of the British dairy industry and how can that be improved?
 

If you think you could help this fictional UK dairy farm which is facing a tough future then enter Agrihive’s competition to win flights to Australia. Click here to download.

The competition closes on 31st January 2016.  Please send entries to [email protected]  or post to Robert Craig, Cairnhead Farm, Ainstable, Carlisle, CA4 9RP.

 

 






Source Details

 Julie Edwards, Head of Agricultural Affairs and Communications



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