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Prince expands dairy initiative

PRINCE CHARLES is to expand a pilot scheme that has been successfully providing business support and advice to struggling dairy farmers.

According to latest figures, nine dairy farmers are being driven out of business each week, beset by a combination of high costs, price volatility, and a shortage of new talent. The Prince's 'Dairy Initiative', delivered in partnership with the Business in the Community charity and DairyCo, has been targeting farmers who are at risk of leaving the sector and providing them with dedicated support.

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Since last year, the pilot programme has supported 74 farmers across the UK through workshops to boost the efficiency and viability of their businesses – and all participating farmers are still trading, but doing things differently to boost the efficiency and viability of their business.

Following this success, the scheme is now being extended and aims to support a further 300 farmers over the next three years.

One of the pilot participants, Nigel Boyd, who runs a 118 cow family dairy farm near Dumfries, said: "We're doing all we can to scrape a living, given the debt we've taken on to invest in our business.

"Through the Initiative, I have gained practical knowledge to help my business survive and thrive. For example I feel more confident about the accounts, something I had found very daunting in the past.

"The Initiative has boosted my confidence and allowed me to spend time with like-minded, forward-thinking family farmers"

Mark Allen, chairman of The Prince's Rural Action Programme, and chief executive of Dairy Crest, said: "After a year of damaging floods and record pricesof feed, there has never been a more important time to support farmers."

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