National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

19 September 2017

A new free business guide offering essential advice about how to get a farming business started has been launched by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and Savills.

The online resource, which is being launched during National Young Farmers’ Week (18-24 September), was created in response to demand from young people who wanted more support for starting successful farming business ventures.

As the industry faces huge changes post-Brexit, the Smart Farming Guide, supported by Defra, offers a one-stop shop for practical advice on starting, funding, protecting and growing a robust agri business. This mobile-friendly, online guide will be continually updated with information during a time of unprecedented change.

The guide also helps members of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to plan and deliver business development competitions as part of their programme of activities for developing YFC members’ skills.

Highlights of the Smart Farming Guide include

  • Case studies from successful farming entrepreneurs such as Chris Wildman from the Town End Farm Shop and Guy Watson from Riverford Organics. 
  • Advice on the types of finance available.
  • Risk analysis and business protection advice. 
  • A resources section with links to wider business support.   
  • Previous NFYFC work, including videos giving advice on starting the succession conversation and links to the business opportunity matching service.

Sarah Palmer, NFYFC’s Agriculture and PR Manager, said: “The aim of the project was to encourage early take-up of good business practice and provide an on-line guide for all aspects of business development. Expertise and collaboration were key components of the project offering YFC members a comprehensive guide on many levels.  

“Both YFC members and the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) have raised awareness of the need for business support and new business models of collaboration between generations of farmers to help ensure their farming futures.  The Smart Farming Guide’s online platform helps to deliver this request and signposts many other sources of existing help and advice.”

NFYFC and Savills have first-hand experience of developing and delivering business development training.  The guide will be a linked to future projects to ensure consistent advice and information.

Clive Beer Savills, Head of Savills UK Rural Professional Services, said: “The framework within which UK agriculture operates is about to undergo the biggest change since the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. During the next few years our trading platforms and subsidies will change and we have to hope that these negotiations and outcomes put UK agriculture in a strong position for the future.

“This is a really exciting initiative which provides a central resource to all young farmers and I am delighted that Savills is supporting it.”

NFYFC’s President Charlotte Smith said: “This is most definitely a legacy project and a great future asset for all YFC members.”

National Young Farmers’ Week is a celebration of the work YFCs do in their local communities and the contribution they make to the future of the industry and the rural environment.

Visit the Smart Farming Guide.


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