Levy board appointment to improve livestock cost management

Boosting cost management across whole farm businesses will be one of the main priorities for the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) newly appointed farm benchmarking manager. 

Doreen Anderson will front a team whose job it is to roll out a new business management programme with a focus on benchmarking and peer-to-peer learning across livestock and crop enterprises.

Having previously worked at AHDB since 2012 on various projects, including beef and dairy benchmarking, Anderson will bring with her a wealth of knowledge in her new role.

“This is an exciting time for me and the team as we are at the beginning of an interesting and challenging journey,” she commented. “AHDB has long been involved in benchmarking programmes at sector level, but a whole-farm approach will prove more beneficial to the farmers and give a better picture of their farm as a business, by looking at all their enterprises together.”

The appointment of Anderson is part of the levy board’s strategy to upskill farmers and growers by offering them the utensils and understanding to monitor performance relative to their peers, and to improve business decision-making. The benchmarking team will cover the whole of the UK and will have regional officers working across the beef, lamb, potatoes, cereals, oilseeds and, later, dairy sectors.

The group has been formed to assist farmers and growers in uploading data on to AHDB’s new benchmarking software – Farmbench – and offer them a platform to interpret results and discuss ways of reducing costs of production. Consultants, advisors and vets will be trained to use Farmbench with their own discussion groups.

“The number of groups is always increasing, so our diaries are forever full,” added Anderson. “The advantage of working with discussion groups is we can help farmers who wouldn’t necessarily think of attending a benchmarking group get together to discuss their recent issues with their peers and help them make informed decisions based on the reports.

“Our ambition is to get far more of our levy payers involved and help them to start seeing real benefits to their businesses.”

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