Grow Yorkshire, an initiative co-ordinated by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has launched a major survey to gather feedback from farmers to inform the case to the Government for business support post-Brexit.
The survey has been sent to farmers across the region and the findings will help Grow Yorkshire get a better understanding of what challenges and barriers they are facing. It also wants to know what the biggest threats are going to be to farm businesses over the next 12 months. This insight will heavily underpin the next phase of the initiative which is to create an action plan to ensure the relevant support and resources can be requested from the Government.
David Kerfoot, Chair of the YNYER LEP and Grow Yorkshire, said: “There are plenty of farmers in Yorkshire that are already embracing change and using it as an opportunity to develop their business. A big part of helping other farmers capitalise on these opportunities is sharing the stories of those that have already started doing this.
“We also appreciate that for Grow Yorkshire to provide the right support to farmers and food producers then we need to understand the specific challenges that they are currently facing. This is really key to us developing our action plan and will underpin what we prioritise in terms of next steps.
“We are looking to find out what issues lie at the heart of farming and food businesses, so that partners can work together to ensure the appropriate help and support is available. We welcome all views and have set up an online survey as a way of capturing this feedback. Please help us support you better by telling us your thoughts.”
An open letter, which has been signed by over 30 leading organisations of Yorkshire’s agricultural sector, was delivered to the Farming Minister, Robert Goodwill, as part of the initiative. The letter calls for the Government to commit to supporting the region’s rural economy so it can continue to thrive post-Brexit.
Alongside the survey, a steering group has been set up to help shape the strategy for the initiative going forward. A key milestone has been that a representative from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural affairs has officially joined the panel, alongside leaders from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, NFU, CLA, Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network, FERA and Deliciously Yorkshire. Grow Yorkshire is working collaboratively with its partners to ensure that all farming and food businesses in the region are made aware of the support that is available.
A key part of the Grow Yorkshire initiative is to share success stories from farmers to help encourage others to think about ways they could innovate, but also to continue gathering insight to understand what other challenges farmers are experiencing.
Tom Mellor, farmer at Hunmanby Farm Grange near Driffield, runs Wold Top Brewery alongside his farming operation and is keen to encourage others to find ways to innovate and remain profitable: “Farming like every other industry is in for a massive change. It’s always evolving so modern day agriculture needs to meet the challenge of constant change and be proactive, otherwise we’ll get left behind. You’ve got to be constantly open to being challenged and responding to that challenge in a positive way.
“The changes you make don’t always need to be big ones. It’s important to look at what you’ve already got to see what opportunities could already be available to you. For us, that was realising that we could use the water supply that was already present on the farm and look at other ways we could use it. Today, we’re now a successful independent brewery and distillery that produces beer and spirit that’s enjoyed both nationally and abroad.”
Grow Yorkshire is inviting farmers to complete the survey, which can be found here – http://info.howsbusiness.org/grow-yorkshire-farmers-and-food-businesses-survey