Defra Minister backs The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Support Group Initiative

March 18, 2022

Defra Minister Victoria Prentis attended The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s (PCF) Farm Support Group conference on March 18th to find out how the charity is helping farming families across the UK.

Hosted by the NFU at their conference centre in Stoneleigh, the PCF’s Farm Support Group conference brought together 23 farm support groups, who together work to support farming families across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis MP, the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food met with these groups to discover how they’re supporting farm businesses during such difficult times to manage the agricultural transition, and find out more about the challenges – both business and pastoral – being faced by British farmers.

Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, said: “I commend the work done by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and all of those organisations working to support farmers and farming families across the UK.

“Agricultural commodities are closely linked to global gas prices, and I know that there are challenges for farmers at the moment. We are supporting our farmers to improve their profitability and output, and will work alongside support groups who are also doing so much to support the wider farming sector.”

The PCF has been running its Farm Support Group Initiative, coordinated by Diane Spark, since 2019. Diane’s role as Farm Support Coordinator helps these incredible organisations to better collaborate and share knowledge, best practice and advice with each other.

Through monthly online seminars, the provision of training opportunities, members of the FSGI are supported to become more sustainable and able to respond to the growing demands on their time.

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “I am pleased that Minister Prentis welcomed the role PCF can play as a conduit to Government for Farm Support Groups across England to relay their practical experience in supporting the smaller family farm.

“The PCF wishes to do more to help the work of Farm Support Groups, as demand on their services is growing, with farmers seeking their advice and guidance. Farmers trust the Farm Support Groups because they are local, embedded in their rural and farming community, and therefore their advice has context and is specific. That is why the PCF is announcing today a £275,000 package of investment to ensure Farm Support Groups can continue their vital work.”

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