Soil & Water Management Centre

Developing & improving your soils

Where to find specialist business and financial support

If you run a farm, there is a wide range of advice available to you for government grants, including how to write a business plan, run your accounts, benchmark your business and plan your future activity. This online guide explains where you can find specialist business and financial support. There is also information on business and financial planning tools.

***Booklets written by Defra and SEERAD (Scottish Executive, Environment and Rural Affairs Department) in 2004 provide a means by which farmers can make better use of their annual accounts and get an introduction to basic farm business management techniques. They are aimed at all farmers, including those who have not been involved with business management, planning and budgeting before. The booklets aim to help farmers keep track of how well their business is performing and plan what action, if any, they need to take.

Two booklets have been prepared under the joint title ‘Figures for a Farming Future’. The first, ‘Using the Farm Accounts to Point the Way’ explains how to make use of the farm’s profit and loss account and the balance sheet to see where the business sits and how viable it is. The second booklet, ‘Mapping Out a Farming Future’ explains how possible changes to the farm business are assessed so that plans are made on as sound a basis as possible.

In addition to these booklets also see these key items:

1. A Guide to Converting the Farm’s Financial Accounts into Management Accounts. This shows how farm financial accounts and management accounts can be reconciled. The document provides a better understanding of how financial accounts can be converted into management accounts.

2. A Interactive Database based on Farm Business Survey Data (follow website link). This enables the individual farmer to compare the financial results from their farm business with group averages based on data from the Farm Business Survey.

To take things further and thereby get even more out of the booklets provided, many farmers would benefit from joining a benchmarking service and/or a local farmers group covering business management awareness and skills. Others can seek individual advice from a qualified consultant or their accountant. Help is also available from the Farm Business Advice Service in England, Farming Connect in Wales and the forthcoming Farm Business Advice and Skills Service in Scotland.

Contact details for these and other organisations that can help are:

Farm Business Advice Service

Tel: 0845 600 9006

Forward Farming

Tel: 01995 642255

Highlands and Islands Local Enterprise Company and Scottish Enterprise Business Gateway

Tel:  0845 609 6611.

Farming Connect Service Centre Welsh Development Agency

Tel: 08456 000813

Food Chain Centre at IGD

Tel: 01923 857141

Milk Development Council

Milk Bench – National Dairy Benchmarking System

Red Meat Industry Forum

Tel: 01908 844710 

British Institute of Agricultural Consultants

Tel: 01795 830100

E mail:


Site Admin: Tim Chamen
t: 01525 405121/Mob 07714 206048

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