‘Survive & Thrive’ Young Farmers

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Resilience is not about chasing the highest price, but producing a product at the lowest cost possible was one of the key messages at the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs agri and rural affairs event focused on “surviving and thriving” within the dairy sector.

Driven by the members, for the members the event focused on how to future proof your business with resilient business management and was joined by Tony Evans, a leading figure in the dairy sector.

“Too much capital is often the biggest downfall of a business however it is vital not to look at one element in isolation. It is also important to make sure excuses are not used instead of addressing concerns.”

Tony Evans

The group of Young Farmers from across Scotland had the opportunity to visit the SRUC Crichton Royal Farm before getting hands-on looking at their own cost of production, learning the value of more in-depth accounts and the importance of collaboration.

There was a strong emphasis on building a business based on the average milk price, not the highest and making decisions based on a five-year business plan.

Mr Evans was very positive about the dairy sector, explain how returns on dairy production have historically been very good with plenty of opportunity for the future.

He commented: “Too much capital is often the biggest downfall of a business however it is vital not to look at one element in isolation. It is also important to make sure excuses are not used instead of addressing concerns.”

He continued: “Discussion groups are one of the best ways to make the most of resources and become a profitable business. Open discussions generate new ideas and can help with those difficult family discussions.”

SAYFC agri and rural affairs west representative and chair for the day Colin Ferguson commented: “It is important that as a committee we continue to offer events such as this so our members can directly engage with our industry, and further develop their knowledge and skills to help them run profitable and sustainable farming businesses.”

He continued: “Tony was also keen to remind the members that sharing information via discussion groups is not something to shy away from, but instead be encouraged. We are looking at options to take this forward at SAYFC so our members can openly talk with like-minded, fellow Young Farmers providing them with a support network.”

The day was supported by the Scottish Dairy Hub, AHDB Dairy, SAOS and SRUC who highlighted some of the opportunities available in the sector, available free resources and current market trends/future projections.

Stuart Martin of the Scottish Dairy Hub added: “The Scottish Dairy Hub is delighted to be involved with the Scottish Young Farmers agri and rural affairs group. They are strong, positive ambassadors for the industry and their input and interest at the event at the Crichton reflects this. The dairy industry in Scotland is experiencing challenging times, and the hub is more than happy to be involved with groups like this to help in anyway it can.”