All posts by Melissa Wylie

Healthy Cattle, Healthy Profits

Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Date: 21st November 2018
Registration: Opens at 9.30am
Conference finish time: 4.15pm
Location: CAFRE, Greenmount Campus

Fee: £20 per person

The conference has been jointly organised by UFU, CAFRE, LMC, AFBI and NBA

Bookings are online and to be paid at time of booking, please click here to book

Please note we will be taking questions online during the conference, if you have a smart phone please bring it with you

If you need assistance please contact Angela @ UFU HQ on 02890 370 222.

“Making Tax Digital” Business Planning Seminars Ready to Roll

Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) is an initiative being managed by CAFRE and is a key element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The Business Planning theme of Farm Family Key Skills addresses the needs of farmers, farm family members and farm employees to increase their levels of knowledge and awareness in business planning. A number of seminars focusing on areas impacting on farm businesses have been organised by CAFRE in partnership with Rural Support to be delivered throughout Northern Ireland over the coming months starting on
Tuesday 13 November at Loughry Campus, CAFRE

Seminars will be delivered by industry professionals from local Accountancy firms. Topics covered include an overview and awareness of the new HMRC “Making Tax Digital” system including issues surrounding the submission of records, choice of appropriate software and the cost implications for the farm business.

This training is provided as part of the FFKS scheme under the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) section of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 which receives co-financing from the European Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Enniskillen Accountant Tom Patton of Patton Rainey and Associates commented “Making Tax Digital is one of the most significant changes to have occurred in the past number of years. It will have a major impact on almost all farm businesses and as it comes into effect in April 2019 it is important that farmers get themselves up to speed with the changes. It is always important to plan ahead in any business, not only in the short term but also longer term and I would encourage farmers, farm family members and farm employees to attend one of these seminars where they will get a chance to hear from industry professionals on key issues related to the new “Making Tax Digital system”.”

Twenty Seminars will be delivered in local venues across Northern Ireland from November 2018 to March 2019, with additional dates for November confirmed as Grant’s Pub, Mayobridge on Monday 19th, the Silver Birch Hotel Omagh on Tuesday 20th, Enniskillen Campus on Wednesday 21st, Tirgan Community Association (Tirgan Hall), Moneymore on Monday 26th, Agri-food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) on Wednesday 28th and Magherabuoy House Hotel, Portrush on Thursday 29th of November. Doors open at 7.30 pm with seminars beginning at 8.00pm.

Gillian Reid and Jude McCann of Rural Support pictured discussing the importance of “Making Tax Digital” Business Planning seminars with Kenneth Johnston and Siobhan Sheppard of CAFRE who in partnership are offering a number of “Making Tax Digital” seminars throughout Northern Ireland starting in November 2018.

December events will be held in the Milestone Centre, Carrickmore on Monday 3rd, Greenmount Campus, Antrim on Monday 10th and Benedy Community Centre, Dungiven on Tuesday 11th December. Further event dates will be released in the New Year.

The seminars are free to farmers, members of the farm family and employees. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters within farm families would all benefit from attending a seminar. You don’t need to pre register so just come along on the night.

Registration for the Prince’s Countryside Farm Resilience Programme closing soon!

The Farm Resilience Programme which will be recommence in November 2018 in the Garvagh and Banbridge areas is aimed at dairy or beef and sheep farmers who are not currently practising benchmarking or engaged in a business development programme and who are looking at ways to improve their business and make efficiencies. Support will be provided through one to one on farm mentoring as well as a series of group workshops to be delivered by professional consultants. The workshops will focus on general business areas such as finance and business planning, making efficiencies and looking at new opportunities; as well as preparing for the future such as succession planning and change management post Brexit.

The programme will include support to look at the financial performance of your own enterprise through the use of a specially designed ‘business health check tool’. By completing the tool, it will help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Then through the series of workshops you will be able to compare your business with others and identify ways in which you can improve your performance and create a stronger, more resilient farm business. Click on the link below to see an overview of the planned workshops.

If you wish to find out more or sign up please contact Gillian on 028 8676 0040 or gillian@ruralsupport.org.uk

Workshop Overview 2018

Farm Resilience Programme Launched in Garvagh & Banbridge

Following on from the success of previous years Rural Support are now launching this year’s Farm Resilience Programme in the Garvagh and Banbridge areas.

The Programme is aimed at dairy or beef and sheep farmers who are not currently practising benchmarking or engaged in a business development programme and who are looking at ways to improve their business and make efficiencies. Support will be provided through one to one on farm mentoring as well as a series of five group workshops to be delivered by professional consultants. The workshops will focus on general business areas such as finance and business planning, making efficiencies and looking at new opportunities; as well as preparing for the future such as succession planning and change management post Brexit.

A participant from the previous group commented, “Having previously completed the workshops and having been involved in the programme from start to finish it had really opened my eyes to small, simple changes I could make to my farm and the benefits I would receive by doing so. I was able to take small nuggets from each workshop and replicate them on my own farm which has helped it run more efficiently and effectively.”

The programme will include support to look at the financial performance of your own enterprise through the use of a specially designed ‘business health check tool’. By completing the tool, it will help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Then through a series of workshops you will be able to compare your business with others and identify ways in which you can improve your performance and create a stronger, more resilient farm business.

At the end of the formal part of the programme there are also further opportunities for group activities. A number of farmers have just returned from Scotland where they visited several farms gaining invaluable information through farm walks as well as questions and answer sessions with the farmer and the agricultural consultancy firm Kite. From this, participants could clearly see the value of diversification according to their environment, landscape and financial situation. Furthermore, they grasped the importance of a good business management plan and how a few small changes could reap big rewards. The theme of this year’s trip has been suggested as drought and fodder management as the UK has experienced an abnormally hot summer.

The Farm Resilience Programme is funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and is completely free to farmers however spaces are limited. If you would like more information on the programme or to book your place, please contact Gillian Reid by emailing gillian@ruralsupport.org.uk or call 02886 760040.

Former UFU President Endorses Rural Support

Former President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Barclay Bell has given his backing to the Rural Support Helpline, which has recently changed its number to a Freephone service.

 

The UFU has had a long-standing relationship with Rural Support since the charity’s establishment in 2002.  The UFU President explains that the Rural Support services, particularly the Helpline support, is needed now, more than ever:

 

“Rural Support provides us within the farming community, with an invaluable service.  They have a team of trained and dedicated volunteers who listen to and assist farmers and farming families with a range of issues such as financial pressures, physical and mental health concerns and succession planning issues” said Mr. Bell.

 

“These last few months have been very difficult for farmers with the prolonged wet weather, issues with fodder supplies and the pressure on farmers to feed their livestock. Rural Support is available to provide technical and emotional guidance and support.  The gateway to access all of Rural Support’s services is through their Helpline, which has recently changed its number to 0800 138 1678.  This number is a Freephone number which makes it much more accessible to everybody within the farming community.  I would encourage anyone who feels they are struggling or needs assistance to contact the Rural Support Helpline or visit ruralsupport.org.uk or on Twitter and Facebook @RuralSupport,” says the former UFU president.

 

Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann commented, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UFU President for all of his support during his two years in office.  Barclay has been a tremendous ambassador for the farming community during his term as UFU President and has been extremely supportive of our work here in Rural Support.  I wish him continued success in his future endeavours.”

 

To speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rural Support Helpline on 0800 138 1678.  Calls are free from all UK landlines and mobile numbers.  The Helpline is available 9am – 9pm, Monday – Friday (Voicemail and Support options available at all other times) or visit www.ruralsupport.org.uk

Job Announcement – Finance and Development Officer

Rural Support is seeking to recruit a Finance and Development Officer.

Job Overview

  • To be responsible for the Finance, HR and Admin function of the operation
  • To manage the day to day Financial requirements of Rural Support
  • To oversee the claims to funders and ensure appropriate financial record keeping
  • To assist in the development of additional activities relating to Rural Support core services and initiatives across Northern Ireland
  • Develop strong working relationships with key stakeholders to create new opportunities for people availing of Rural Support services
  • Forge Rural Support’s reputation as a trusted partner that delivers real benefits to rural dwellers, farmers and farming families

Location: Rural Support office, Cookstown
Hours: 37.5  hours (5days) per week
Salary scale: Senior Officer 1 £26,470

This position is available for 11 months initially with possible extension funding dependent.

Applicants must have a relevant third level qualification and at least five years successful experience in a Finance role.

For an application form, job description and specification please email Deborah at Rural Support. Deborah@ruralsuppport.org.uk

Closing date for applications is 10am on Tuesday 1st of May 2018.

HSENI backs Rural Support with New Helpline Number

HSENI Chief Executive, Keith Morrison recently attended the Social Farming celebration event ‘Growth and Next Steps’ in Loughry College, Cookstown and had this to say about Rural Support and their new Freephone Helpline:

“ Rural Support delivers a vital service to the farming community by providing help, advice and support to those in the community who are facing significant challenges. The Freephone number is a particularly important way for those in farming to seek help especially when they are facing major difficulties.

HSENI fully supports the extremely important work undertaken by Rural Support and has assisted in relation to delivering health and safety training to farmers who support social farming, which is an innovative use of agriculture to promote therapy, rehabilitation, social inclusion, education and social services in rural areas.

To be able to speak to someone who understands the problems that the farming community is facing and to hear the voice of a reassuring person who can provide clear guidance cannot be underestimated, especially when members of the farming industry are concerned about many issues including mental health, financial problems and worries about succession planning.  The new Freephone Helpline will make these services much more accessible to everybody within the farming community”

Rural Support Issues Business Spring Clean Call

In time for the arrival of the Spring season, local charity, Rural Support has issued a call to the farming community, encouraging them to undertake a Spring clean of a special kind.

Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann has said that now is the perfect time to Spring clean your farming business finances. He said: “Spring is usually a great time of year for the agricultural community, with sunnier days and new life on the farm, but that shouldn’t distract farm businesses from keeping their financials in order.

“A proper Spring clean at the farm should also include a review of your finances, particularly as we prepare for the new financial year ahead. After what has been an extremely wet and difficult Winter, many farmers have experienced increased stress due to losing crops, damage to farmland, missed production deadlines and a shortage in fodder which has led to detrimental impacts on the farm finances.

“Mending this might seem like a daunting task, but Rural Support is here to help. For those who need some additional support with issues such as cash flow or debt, our Farm Business Mentors can offer specialist, impartial advice on how to get your business back on the right track. Their support will ease the burden and help identify a way forward.”

Rural Support has a team of 11 farm business mentors, all of which have extensive experience in agribusiness and finance. They have a diverse range of skills that can help farmers give their finances a ‘spring clean’ and help address financial issues regarding the farm business.

The charity which supports farmers and farming families right across Northern Ireland has undergone a Spring clean of its own – launching a brand new helpline number for those who need guidance or a helping hand.

Jude added: “We understand that it can be difficult to talk to family members or friends about financial, health or any other sensitive issues. Using our new helpline number is the first step in addressing these issues. I urge anyone who thinks they may benefit from the support of one of our volunteers or Farm Business Mentors to get in touch.”

The Rural Support helpline provides a listening and signposting service for farmers and rural families. A dedicated team of staff and volunteers deal with a range of issues including farm financial pressures, physical and mental health concerns, farming paperwork and bureaucracy.

The freephone helpline number is 0800 138 1678. Helpline Operating Hours are 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday (Voicemail and Support options available at all other times)