A new £2.15 million benchmarking initiative to help beef and sheep farmers identify improvements to their businesses and prepare for Brexit gets underway today.

The Red Meat Benchmarking project, supported through the Welsh Government’s EU Transition Fund, will support 2,000 farmers to better understand the technical and financial performance of their businesses and ensure their competitiveness in a changing market.

The project, which is managed by Hybu Cig Cymru, will remain open for two months, closing on December 10.

Eligible producers across Wales are being encouraged to participate on a first-come-first-served basis by completing the online questionnaire on the financial and physical performance of their business with data from the 2016-7 or 2017-8 financial years.

In return, participating farmers will receive a personalised assessment of their business and productivity which will include anonymous comparisons with similar businesses within the sector.

Participating farmers will also receive a compensatory payment of £1,000 for the time and effort of taking part.

Preparing for Brexit

The Cabinet Secretary said: “It is now less than six months before the UK leaves the European Union and the prospect of a no deal looms large. The need to prepare for a post-Brexit world has never been more essential.

“As a Government, we have always said we will do all we can to support our agricultural sector to help them prepare and adapt to the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents.

“Earlier this year, I announced a £2.15 million new red meat benchmarking project to help beef and sheep farmers do just that.

“Building on the successful work of our Dairy Conditional project, the system will support 2,000 beef and sheep farmers benchmark their financial and technical performance and identify areas of their business which could be improved.

“This is a crucial investment for the sector at this difficult and challenging time. It will enable beef and sheep farmers to maintain their competitiveness in changing markets, maximise any emerging opportunities and ensure they are able to thrive in a post-Brexit world.”

Hybu Cig Cymru’s industry development manager, John Richards said: “This is a red meat producer’s opportunity to step back, assess the financial status of their business and take a really good look at how it’s performing.

With Brexit just around the corner, it is crucially important that our businesses are financially fit. Now’s the time for our sector to raise its game and contribute towards the bigger picture.

“There will be direct benefits for farmers who take time to participate in the project; they will be equipped with knowledge and information to make informed changes to their businesses, leading to improved productivity and efficiency. This could result in more confident and competitive businesses in the future.”