Farm Business Review: FAQs

From connecting with a consultant to using the Farm Business Review tool, our FAQs provide you with more information about the service and signpost to further resources.

About the Farm Business Review service

AHDB’s Farm Business Review service involves online self-assessment tools combined with free one-to-one support from one of our approved agricultural business consultants. The service aims to help farmers and growers most affected by the reduction in BPS payments prepare their businesses for the future.  

The free consultation review takes half a day and will require you to have production and financial data to hand. A limited number of producers will be able to access further free follow-up support around business planning, budgeting, benchmarking and carbon audits.  

The FBR service is funded by Defra through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, a £9m fund made available in 2021/22 to support farm business in England through the agricultural transition. 

AHDBs FBR service is aimed at dairy, beef, sheep, cereals and oilseeds farmers in England (with an SBI number for England), who have received BPS payments. Through the service we hope to reach 4,000 farmers and growers by February 2022. 

The Defra fund is available to all beef, sheep, dairy, cereals and oilseed producers in England who have received BPS payments. If your business does not include one of the funded enterprises or your farm does not have a single business identifier (SBI) registered for England, we are unable to put your details forward for a one-to-one consultation with an approved adviser. However, you are still able to use our Farm Business Review online tool to evaluate your farm business and identify areas for improvement.  

To find out more about business support specifically tailored to farm businesses in Wales, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/ and for Scotland, visit https://www.fas.scot/. 

As BPS payment reductions are beginning this year, taking a wait-and-see approach isn’t an option for those who rely on this income. The  FBR service offers a great mix of resources, including online tools and self-assessment guides, expert one-to one free advice and peer support groups to help your business prepare for the biggest agricultural policy shift in a generation. 

The service is designed specifically for grazing livestock (dairy, beef and sheep) and cereals and oilseeds producers. Ongoing additional support is available through AHDB to those most in need with additional free consultancy advice, information and guidance across a range of areas, including Full-Farm Benchmarking, Carbon Audits and Agribusiness Appraisals. 

For further information, visit our Farm Business Review page. If you need help to sign up to the service, call our helpdesk on 0247 5189 300 or email: FarmBusinessReview@ahdb.org.uk. 

The Farm business review tool requires an SBI number to register, ensuring farms aren’t double counted. If the two farms have separate SBI numbers, then they can both use the service. They will likely receive separate BPS Payments if they have a separate SBI number. 

To register for the farm business review service, you need an SBI number. You may have one even if you do not claim BPS. If you do not have one, we advise that you to speak to the land owner about having a joint meeting.  

Yes, because you have an SBI number you are eligible for the fund and consultant advice. Because you do not receive BPS payment you will not be able to make use of the BPS Calculator as part of the Farm Business Review tool but will still be able to use the Business Resilience Assessment and KPI Express Calculator. 

AHDB operates in line with UK data protection/GDPR regulations. At AHDB we take the  privacy and security of your personal and commercial information very seriously.  

As the service is funded by Defra, the contact information you enter during the sign-up process  will be shared with them, this includes full name, address, email address, telephone number  and SBI number (the SBI is only used to check that each farm is only accessing the support  once). 

Other information collected such as age, sex, geographical location, farm type (e.g. arable,  dairy), farmer status (e.g., owner occupier, tenant), if farming is your main occupation, number  of employees on farm and how many years farming will be sent to Defra but will be  anonymised (not linked to your SBI number). 

As part of the fund, you will be asked to complete an eight-question farm business intention  and practices survey; this is done to evaluate the service. The results of this survey will be  shared with Defra, but all responses will be anonymised and not used in conjunction with any  other information you provide. 

Your individual farm financial and production data is not shared with Defra and will be kept  secure. For more information on how your data is used and protected as part of the Resilience  Fund programme please see our privacy statement. 

Using the tool

The online tool contains three elements to help analyse your farm business: 

  • BPS Impact Calculator: How will BPS reductions impact your business?  
  • Business Resilience Assessment: Is your business fit and ready for the future?  
  • KPI Express Calculator: How well is your farm performing for you? 

You can sign up for the service through our FBR tool, at https://farmbusinessreview.ahdb.org.uk. Once you have signed up, you will be matched with a consultancy company who will work with you to conduct the Farm Business Review. 

It will only take a few minutes to sign up for the service. You should have to hand your contact information, farm details including enterprise type(s) and business information such as your single business identifier (SBI) number (a unique nine-digit number given to a farmer or business that is involved in an agricultural activity).

To get the most benefit out of the review and enable you to have a detailed discussion with your consultant, we recommend that you identify your 2020 BPS payment figure in advance and have your farm accounts, key production records e.g., yield/sales, variable costs such as feed, fuel and fertiliser costs, and any other records to help the analysis of your farm enterprise. 

An SBI or single business identifier number is a unique nine-digit number given to a farmer of business involved in an agricultural activity. Your SBI can be found in most correspondence from the RPA, or can be found by logging into the Rural Payments portal and looking at the Business Details section.  

If you can't locate your SBI or your SBI isn’t working, please contact us via email at ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk, or via telephone on 03000 200 301. 

If you forget your password, you can use the ‘Forgot password’ function on the login screen and you will be able to reset your password. If you have any other issues with logging into your account, please contact the helpdesk on 0247 5189 300 or email FarmBusinessReview@ahdb.org.uk 

Consultants

AHDB will be working with a nationwide network of consultancy companies. Once you sign up for the service, you will be matched with a consultancy based on your location and farm type.

The list of nationwide consultancies AHDB is working with to deliver the service is growing and our Farm Business Review: consultancies information provides information about them all. These may be different to the consultancies that you usually work with.

Once you have registered for the Farm Business Service, you will be matched with one of the consultancies from this list based on your farm's location and type. The consultancy will then let you know which consultant will be in contact to deliver the free half-day consultancy. If you have any questions about the consultant you will be working with, please contact your matched consultancy.

To help you prepare for your appointment, sign in to our online Farm Business Review tool and input as much of your farm data as you can before the consultants visit. During the meeting, make sure you have your accounts and production records so that you can add information to any part of the tool you have not already completed.

After the initial consultant visit, farmers and growers may be put forward for further in-depth consultant support if a need is identified during the initial review. This support will be focused around either Agri-Business Appraisal, a Carbon Audit or Full-Farm Benchmarking.

The Farm Business Review web pages can also provide links to a range of other relevant content and resources such as Farmbench, Agrileader and much more.

As a result of the half day consultant visits to your farm the consultant will produce a bespoke action plan which will give you an overview of options for the decline of BPS payments and when they stop.

The visit will cover how quickly BPS payments will reduce from your business and the impact this will have on business profitability and cash.

The key areas of opportunity within your business including any future plans you have, environmental schemes and areas to focus on to cut costs, will all be discussed and recorded within the action plan.

Further information

Listen to our podcast about the benefits of the Farm Business Review service

Visit the Farm Business Review homepage

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