Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Clerk's letter of 17 October requested follow
up information from the Secretary of State and Jim Scudamore's
attendance before the Committee on 17 October. I am enclosing
a copy of the Review of Progress to Date and Next Steps
(Annex) on the seminars for farmers affected by FMD which gives
quite a detailed account of the interest in and attendance at
On FMD costs the total FMD estimated expenditure
is £2 billion. Actual expenditure to date is £1.6 billion.
This includes payments to farmers for compensation is respect
of animals slaughtered and seized/destroyed items of £1.1
23 November 2001
FMD Recovery Package
Seminars for farmers affected by FMD and
the establishment of a regional contact service
REVIEW OF PROGRESS TO DATE AND NEXT STEPS
SEMINARS FOR FARMERS WHO HAVE HAD THEIR STOCK
CULLED AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A REGIONAL CONTACT SERVICE
This paper summarises progress to date with
regard to the delivery of seminars to farmers who have had their
stock culled and the establishment of a regional contact service.
The paper will:
outline the background to the two
initiatives and the context within which this project was announced
by the Minister on 8 May;
clarify the objectives of the project
and the measures of success against which the project was to have
summarise the outputs of the project
outline the regional framework for
delivering the project objectives for the remaining part of the
year (up to April 2002); and
identify the key "next-steps"
in taking this project forward.
1.1 The Minister announced on 8 May a range
of measures to assist recovery of the farming sector in the aftermath
of the foot and mouth crisis, stating that the measures, ".
. . will provide high quality, targeted business and agronomic
advice to help farmers consider their future options and look
beyond the foot and mouth crisis. They will also help to improve
marketing and market opportunities".
1.2 He also confirmed that, "as well
as helping to respond to farmers' short-term needs, they will
contribute to the Government's longer-term strategy for helping
UK farming to restructure in sustainable, market-oriented and
environmentally responsible ways".
1.3 The packaged announced on 8 May amounted
to £15.4 million, made up of:
£10.4 million for an enhanced
Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS) offering up to five days free
business advice for farmers whose livestock have been slaughtered
under the foot and mouth control measures;
£2 million in grant aid made
available under a new round of the Agricultural Development Scheme,
to improve marketing performance and competitiveness of sectors
affected by foot and mouth; and
£3 million for a targeted trade
development and market campaign, made available through Food from
Britain and will co-ordinate their campaign with the Countryside
Agency, Meat and Livestock Commission and others with an active
1.4 As a first step the Minister announced
that the Rural Development Service (RDS) would run seminars for
farmers who have had their stock culled. These seminars would
be held in the worst affected areas in collaboration with partner
organisations, covering advice on both business and farming operational
issues. The seminars would consider a range of programmes available
to help farmers address business recovery either individually
or in groups.
1.5 Following on from the seminars RDS was
to have established a regional contact service for farmers seeking
follow up advice and help in taking ideas forward. This involved
encouraging farmers to make individual use of the FBAS.
1.6 This paper focuses on the development
and delivery of seminars and the establishment of a regional contact
service. Both initiatives are henceforth referred to as the project.
2. PROJECT AND
2.1 The objectives for this project have
been identified as:
(i) to re-connect with the farming community
in affected areas;
(ii) to provide immediate short-term business
(iii) to facilitate appropriate group and
individual business development.
2.2 Objectives for DEFRA/RDS in delivering
its project are:
(i) to develop an efficient working network
of stakeholders at regional level;
(ii) to deliver, with stakeholders, seminars
in affected areas;
(iii) to manage with stakeholder input the
operation of a regional contact service; and
(iv) to facilitate the development of farmer
3. MEASURES OF
3.1 Measures of success in achieving these
the number of seminars that have
been delivered (against plan);
the number of seminar attendees (against
the target population);
the number of enquiries taken for
business assistance (against the target population);
the number of FBAS cases commissioned
as a result of the enquiries; and
the numbers of farmer groups established
(against current position).
3.2 From the DEFRA/RDS perspective a further
measure of success will relate to the extent of stakeholder involvement
and ownership of the project. This should be gauged at a post-project
forum involving all stakeholders (including farmers) where key
issues and messages should be teased out. It would be appropriate
to hold such a forum early in 2002.
4. OUTPUTS OF
4.1 Completed Seminars
(i) All of the 23 planned seminars were successfully
delivered, in collaboration with stakeholders, during July and
(ii) The first seminar took place at Writtle,
Essex on 3 July. The twenty-third seminar was delivered on 23
August in Gisburn, Lancashire.
(iii) Shown below are the seminar locations
and approximate delegate numbers. Delegate numbers include the
culled-out farmers attending and other interested parties present
in the seminar hall.
|Newby Bridge||14 Aug
|Bishop Auckland||08 Aug
|West Midlands||Harper Adams
|Yorks and Humber||Scotch Corner
(iv) Outbreaks of Foot and Mouth are still occurring and
it is likely that further Phase 1 seminars will be needed
when conditions allow.
(v) the seminars were featured in local and national farming
press, local radio and local television. Speeches made by RDS
staff were featured as "key-note" speeches in a Farmers
Weekly article put out on the DEFRA Intranet.
(vi) feedback from those attending the seminars and from
the stakeholders involved has been very positive, with for example,
a 78 per cent excellent and good rating given by farmers attending
the south-west seminars;
(vii) the delivery of the seminars involved in a high
degree of "joined-up activity" involving the establishment
of regional stakeholder forums, which allowed for liaison with
and co-operation between several strands of the Department, Statutory
Agencies, lobby groups and NGOs;
(viii) a summary of some of the key roles undertaken is
RDS teams managed locally and co-ordinated
nationally the roll out of seminars. In addition RDS staff made
presentations at the seminars on options for the future for farmers
and land managers including the role of ERDP;
The Government Office made presentations
and presented FMD data in the context of the regional economy.
The Divisional Vets presented the current
FMD situation at the regional level and responded to farmers questions
as to restocking strategies etc.
The Small Business Service (DTI) presented
the Farm Business Advice Service and explained its operation in
the context of business recovery.
The Meat and Livestock Commission,
presented an overview of the red meat sector providing projections
for supply and demand in the red meat sector over the next three
The NFU were actively involved in the
planning and delivery of the south west seminars and were present
at all the other seminars in an advisory capacity.
The main statutory agencies (English Nature,
English Heritage, Environment Agency, Countryside Agency, Forestry
Commission) had representatives at most of the seminars.
The private sector made presentations
across a broad range of subject areas with a focus on adding-value,
farmer co-operation and marketing. Examples of private sector
contributions included the Farmers First Group who outlined
their successful operation, which has involved purchasing a ferry
to allow Welsh lamb to be exported to France.
Key Farmer influencers were chosen
to chair the events.
4.2 The Contact Service
(i) A contact service open to all farmers (not just those
culled out) has been established, staffed by experienced advisers
and those with extensive agricultural knowledge. These advisers
operate within regional recovery project teams. The size of these
teams varies from region to region with between one to six individuals
involved at any one time.
(ii) Phone lines for a "Business Recovery Helpline"
service are now installed across all regions. All are now live
and are supported by purpose designed logging software to track,
monitor and record message details. The locations and numbers
are shown below.
|Yorks and Humber||Northallerton
(iii) Demand is slowly building, a reflection of a new
service, its introduction during a busy time of year and farmer's
specific needs during the launch period.
(iv) To date the contact Service has fielded in excess
of 1,300 calls nationally. In addition the service has made
direct contact to culled out and Form `D' farmers in the East
Midlands, the East and South East Regions.
(v) The nature of enquiries to date has been varied but
this is likely to change as the service is brought to farmers
attention through regional and national PR. The North East Region,
for example, fielded in excess of 30 calls per day in response
to a single agri-environment mailshot, demonstrating the role
that the contact service can play in reaching farmers.
(vi) The service is currently receiving calls from farmers
across all categories, ie culled out farmers, Form "D"
farmers and farmers who have not been directly affected, but whose
businesses have suffered indirectly;
(vii) Information flows to support regional recovery teams,
to publicise the RDS offer and to gauge farmer needs have been
developed using the following mechanisms:
FMD Recovery Intranet, designed and
managed by the RDS Technical Advice Unit (TAU) in Nobel House.
This site holds a copy of all the presentations made at the seminars.
FMD Recovery Internet site, accessible
via the DEFRA website with regional tags. Those wanting to post
regional information on the web can do so via the TAU.
Conference Calls linking the main FMD
regions are now undertaken at 9.15 am on Tuesday and Thursday.
This activity is managed by the TAU in London. The issues raised
during these briefings are posted later in the day on the Intranet
The call logging software has been
installed in dedicated offices and will be used to analyse enquiries
when numbers are sufficiently high. This analysis will help to
formulate strategy for the Helpline from early Autumn.
Response cards have been used at the
seminars to gauge farmer needs and to influence the design and
roll-out of phase 2 seminars late this year.
Business Cards providing direct contact
details of the "FMD Recovery Helpline" have been produced
in the key affected regions for distribution amongst farmers.
A four-sided information newsletter,
containing articles written by private sector consultants and
advisers has been produced for posting out during September. The
intended targets are those culled farmers considering future options,
some of who attended the seminars. The newsletter acts as a link
between the Phase 1 seminars completed in August and the Phase
2 seminars/workshop activity due to be delivered in some regions
during October and November.
(viii) It is likely that demand for the "business
helpline" service will increase through the autumn and winter
months as the financial consequences of FMD on trading conditions
for farmers throughout 2001 become clearer.
(ix) The North East Region are currently engaged in dialogue
with the Regional Development Agency with regards to the feasibility
of using the contact service in brokerage activity for farmers
seeking forage, grazing and livestock.
(x) Farmer group development: 41 culled-out farmers
in Wensleydale have signed up to the concept of a dedicated adviser
funded by FBAS. RDS advisers are liaising with the local Business
Link and the farmers on the ground to help them take their ideas
forward. How the group develops will be the subject of much interest.
There is enthusiasm amongst the farmers and very obvious potential
for developing activity, which integrates local farm products,
environmental management, tourism, group marketing and collaboration.
RDS will monitor the situation and hope to use the example of
the Wensleydale group as a basis for developing other groups around
4.3 Stakeholder Involvement
(i) Stakeholder involvement has been positive and
proactive and this network is something which should be built
upon in the coming months. Most regions have held stakeholder
debriefing meetings, and discussed future needs and planning for
autumn and winter activity.
(ii) A meeting with MLC officers in Milton Keynes is
planned for mid to late October to assess the feasibility of developing
restocking models for farmers considering getting back into livestock.
RDS staff are likely to be involved in the MLC Outlook Conferences
due to be delivered regionally during the autumn.
(iii) As a result of seminar activity RDS staff have
been asked to make presentations:
on business recovery at the Farmers Weekly/Nat
West Bank seminars being rolled out nationally from October;
on engaging hill farmers on marketing issues
at a major NFU training event at Stoneleigh in late September
for NFU rural advisers;
on integrating FMD recovery strategies with
environmental objectives at the South Downs Conservation Board
Conference in October;
on the role of ERDP in farm recovery at
the Institute of Agricultural Management Conference in Peterborough
on 19 November.
4.4 Planning for Phase 2 Seminars
(i) It has always been the intention to follow the
Phase 1 (larger) seminars by smaller themed and local events.
Planning is already underway with regard to how these events will
be delivered, and how they link in with other local initiatives,
regional priorities and the RDS core area of work ie delivering
(ii) Issues of specific interest this autumn will relate
to the marketing of livestock, particularly for those farms under
Form "D" restrictions and the practical implications
of restocking for farmers culled out.
(iii) As well as responding to the demand for information
and training, there may well be a need to respond to demand from
farmers for support for group activity.
(iv) Shown as an Annex to this report is an outline
framework for delivery of Phase 2 activity at the regional level.
This framework shows activity since the delivery of Phase 1 seminars
and planned activity this Autumn.
(v) This framework will be used as the basis for a workshop
planned for RDS staff to be held in London on 4 October.
5. NEXT STEPS
5.1 Where FMD conditions allow, project milestones and
provisional delivery dates need to be identified and agreed at
the regional level. This process needs to be embedded in the production
of regional project plans, which will need to address the detail
of phase 2 seminars, the continued operation of the Regional Contact
Service (RCS) and the resource commitments from RDS.
5.2 RDS staff who will be involved in the operation of
the RCS and the development of seminars (three to six per region
in the worst affected areas, less in the eastern regions) need
to be briefed as to their remit, within the wider goals of RDS
and the Department and they need to be empowered to deliver this
5.3 Stakeholders need to be kept informed at the regional
and national level to ensure that the successful level of "joined-upness"
evident during Phase 1 continues through Phase 2 to the completion
of the project.
6. FUTURE ISSUES
6.1 The current FMD outbreak has coincided with continued
downward trend in farm profitability. Feedback from the seminars
and via the contact service indicates that a lot of farmers are
thinking very seriously about their future options, whether to
expand, contract, leave the industry or diversify. These decisions
are involving the whole family.
6.2 The prolonged nature of the disease, and its impact
regionally, will see a speeding up of industry restructuring.
A view for a large scale farmer in Cumbria (one of the seminar
chairmen) was that 15-20 per cent of farmers may use compensation
to leave the industry "with some dignity". Comment made
from one of the farmers involved in the Wensleydale Group, suggest
that some farmers see their future being inextricably linked to
group and collaborative efforts, single operators being "too
small to survive".
6.3 At the same time regional and local stakeholders
are becoming more aware of what they want out of their local agricultural
industries, recognising the need to develop a more integrated
approach which delivers a more sustainable, diverse and competitive
6.4 For farmers and land managers there are some tough
decisions to be made. Initially objectives will have to be clarified
to determine the needs of the business and the family. These objectives
will need to recognise the agenda that the Government has set
for its agricultural industry and the important role of second
6.5 The experiences of RDS in the FMD recovery programme
since May have highlighted the need for:
an industry Vision, post-FMD, which farmers can
extension provision (rather than consultancy)
providing farmers with basic information that can help in the
change process eg adding value, conservation, collaboration etc;
greater co-ordination of those who are currently
providing services to rural area; and
an understanding of how to access grant aid.
6.6 RDS have a valuable role in addressing the needs