NFU Mutual hosts The Prince’s Countryside Fund at Balmoral Show

May 12, 2022

NFU Mutual hosted The Prince’s Countryside Fund at the Balmoral Show yesterday (11th May).

The leading rural insurer and UK-wide farming support charity came together to deliver a session to around 40 attendees on the support available to Northern Ireland’s farmers through The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Resilience Programme (FRP).

At the briefing, The Prince’s Countryside Fund explained how it would be tailoring the FRP in Northern Ireland to the future farming policy and would be to inviting farmers to register for the 2022 programme in the Autumn. The programme offers free business skills and environment training to family farm businesses across the UK, and since 2016 has supported nearly 1,200 families.

The session also celebrated the successes of the FRP, with a recent independent evaluation finding that the programme delivers significant economic, social, and environmental benefits for farmers. For every £1 invested by the programme, there is around a £3 return for farmers – not including ongoing benefits to farmers which continue after they’ve completed the programme. It also found 56% of farmers reported increases in profitability and 73% of farmers reported improved business skills.

NFU Mutual has been hosting breakfast receptions for The Prince’s Countryside Fund at the Balmoral Show since 2018 to aid the recruitment of farmers to the FRP. The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has also donated £100,000 to The Prince’s Countryside Fund since 2020 to support their emergency funding for Farm Support Groups in 2020 and their flagship grant programme, Supporting Rural Communities, in 2021.

Chris Walsh, Farming Insurance Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Many farmers feel the pressure of making sure their business is performing effectively and bringing a good standard of living to themselves, their family and any employees. With current economic challenges, these pressures feel particularly prevalent.

“The Farm Resilience Programme offers practical help for farmers to maximise their profit and long-term viability through one-to-one support and a series of workshops which focus on topics including business planning, finance, and environmental management.

“Helping our members in times of need and supporting rural communities has always been at the very heart of NFU Mutual’s approach. We are committed to making a positive impact through our charitable giving programme and are proud to be supporting The Prince’s Countryside Fund with the valuable services they offer.”

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “The Prince’s Countryside Fund wishes to see a thriving countryside – a living, breathing, working place which is there for everyone. Working together, we can help those who look after the countryside across Northern Ireland to safeguard its future. The PCF is so grateful for the support from the NFU Mutual and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust towards our work in enabling family farms to thrive and building confident rural communities.”

Gerard Donnan, a County Down-based farmer who has benefitted from the FRP and spoke at the session, said: “If you’re serious about farming then these programmes are essential. It’s just a great course and I’m so glad I did it.”

If you would like to take part in our Farm Resilience Programmes, register here