The Deputy Minister was the keynote speaker at the event at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, where he told 150 delegates:
“While I recognise the importance of farmers maximising returns from the market place, one of the most significant factors determining profitability is the overall management of production costs. Benchmarking your business against others, assessing where you’re at now; identifying room for improvement and acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge could be the key to your future survival and profitability.
“The link between skills and business productivity and profit is undisputed. Developing skills will improve the productivity and sustainability of the agricultural industry towards 2020 and beyond. It is essential that we provide farmers with the skills that address key priorities, such as food security and feeding a growing world population, while also managing the environment on behalf of the people of Wales and beyond.
“Good training is very definitely an investment in the business rather than a cost for it to endure and Farming Connect provides a range of support for skills development, designed to help farmers run their businesses in a more professional and profitable manner. Farming Connect is a truly effective public / private sector partnership where over 200 private sector advisers, mentors and vets help the industry to improve their skills, knowledge and their businesses.”
“The most successful farmers are those taking an unashamedly entrepreneurial approach; those who regard farming as a commercial business not just a way of life. And, as in all commercial ventures, standing still is not an option. Ongoing development, efficiency, sustainability and growth are goals which have to be constantly strived for if we are to have an ambition – and I do have that ambition - that goes way beyond simply keeping our heads above water. Farming Connect is helping us to achieve this.”
Farming Connect is funded through the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.