CAFRE launched the Business Development Groups (BDG) scheme in November 2015 and from then, over 3,000 farmers have participated in the scheme and over 2,500 training events have taken place on local farms.
In 2015, this was a new approach to learning which has allowed farmers to share their experiences and knowledge and this has brought about many benefits to the scheme participants.
Farmers in BDGs have reported that they really enjoy working with each other and have learned a lot from BDG training events which are usually held on the farm of a fellow group member. This means they can see what the host farmer has done to try to improve their business and, as a group, learn about new ways of working which they could introduce to their own farm.
The scheme has already had a major impact on participating businesses. Since it began, over 2,500 technologies have been adopted by BDG members, over 2,000 businesses have benchmarked their financial performance and over 400 members have enrolled for the Level 3 qualification.
Regular feedback from BDG members indicates that almost 80% say that the scheme has already helped them develop their business. Farmers also stated that the most important benefits of the participating in the scheme is the opportunity to learn from other farmers and spending time with like-minded people.
BDGs are of interest to all farmers who would like to improve the efficiency of their farm, but are unsure about how best to achieve this. As part of a Business Development Group, farmers develop the knowledge and skills to assess how their farm is performing and, with the help of a CAFRE Adviser, plan for the future development of their farm business.
Visit www.cafre.ac.uk/business-development-groups to find out more information about BDGs and register your interest in joining the scheme.
The BDG scheme is part-funded by the EU through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.