Free business advice for farmers to continue

by 5m Editor
8 March 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Farmers will be able to call upon free support from the Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS) for another year after Ministers agreed to extend the scheme until March 2005.

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Since 2000 the government has invested nearly 332million in FBAS, helping around 15,000 farmers.

FBAS offers farmers three days free consultancy including a business 'health audit' and help in drawing up business plans.

The extension announced today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will give around 3,000 more farmers access to free advice and support.

Food and Farming Minister Larry Whitty said:

"I would encourage more farmers to take advantage of the service. FBAS can give farmers vital support to help them perform better - it could help boost profits and ensure a long-term future for their businesses.

"We are making FBAS more flexible and responsive to the needs of its customers. Healthier farm businesses mean a healthier rural economy and more prosperous farming communities."

Defra will consult later this year on the long-term future of FBAS and other business support for farmers and rural businesses.

Additional Information

FBAS is funded by Defra and run by the Small Business Service through its Business Link network. For further information on FBAS and other business support services call 0845 600 9006, or see

The service is open to all farmers in England who have a holding number and who spend at least 75% of their time working on their core farm business. The business must be classified as a small or medium-sized enterprise (with 250 employees or less and either an annual turnover not exceeding 340 million, of a balance sheet total not exceeding 327 million) and farmers must not have been in receipt of more than €100 000 in public money in similar aid over the previous three years.

A review of FBAS was undertaken by the Rural Business Unit, University of Cambridge. A copy of the report is at:

Source: Defra - 8th March 2004

5m Editor