Richard Laverick, HGCA Business Development ManagerHGCA’s recent call for new Monitor Farms has prompted an enthusiastic response from cereals and oilseeds growers.
In November HGCA began a search for a further eight Monitor Farms, to complement the six currently running in Scotland and Yorkshire. Over the following month HGCA Regional Managers received expressions of interest from more than 130 growers who were keen to participate in the programme.
“The interest been phenomenal,” said Richard Laverick, who leads the HGCA Monitor Farm programme. “I am confident that we will be able to announce the eight new HGCA Monitor Farms early in 2014, and we will also be able to pencil in some of the next wave of Monitor Farms, to start later in 2014/2015.
“The programme is not just about making individual Monitor Farms more profitable, but also sharing best practice with local growers and further afield. This has also been a great opportunity for HGCA Regional Managers to make contact with growers, and to explain how HGCA’s work could benefit their businesses.
“The essence of an HGCA Monitor Farm is that it is farmer-led, dealing with real time on-farm issues to drive improvements in technical performance, bottom-line profitability and long-term sustainability. Through open days, specialist talks and updates on the HGCA website, the Monitor Farms reach out to growers in the local community and beyond, helping to build sector resilience.”
Although the number of HGCA Monitor Farms is limited, HGCA is keen to stress that there are opportunities for growers to benefit from other initiatives such as Arable Business Groups, where local growers share business information to better manage their production costs and to improve their crop pricing and sales strategies.
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