Latest SAC Farm Management Handbook Goes Online

Just as farmers are having to put serious thought into their future business plans the 37th edition of the iconic SAC Farm Management Handbook offers them more information and greater accessibility. What many regard as an essential guide for those involved with rural business is now freely available on-line, thanks to the support of the Scottish Government’s new Farm Advisory Service.
Prime Minister Teresa May has announced Brexit negotiations will begin in March 2017 while Chancellor Phillip Hammond guarantees support to farmers under the EU Basic Payment Scheme (PBS) will continue to 2020. According to Senior Business Consultant Julian Bell of SAC Consulting this offers a window of opportunity to plan ahead, despite uncertainty.
“Farm businesses need to focus on factors within their control,” he argues. “For many the current weakness of sterling offers an opportunity to boost revenue from both the market and BPS. For some the priority may be consolidating short term debt into long term fixed rate loans, lowering charges and the risks from an interest rate rise. Others may think about succession planning so the next generation can tackle the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead.”
The latest 206/17 edition of the Farm Management Handbook has been edited with these challenges in mind.
At its core financial information like the detailed gross margins for livestock, arable, forage and organic enterprises has been updated. There is information on renewable energy, diversification projects or organics and whole farm data. The sections on labour, machinery, rural aid, taxation, contracting charges, buildings, forestry and credit have been updated.
All this is coupled with new features. They include guidance for new entrants on starting up a farm or crofting business, with financial planning and farming opportunities. There is an overview of the latest land tenure arrangements, a wider range of diversification enterprises and guidance on the UK’s various Rural Aid Schemes, given recent detailed changes.
For the first time in its 37 year history the publication from Scotland’s Rural College will be available online at www.fas.scot. (https://www.fas.scot/publications/farm-management-handbook-20162017/ ) Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government’s Farm Advisory Service the on-line versions will be free thus widening access to these essential tools at such an uncertain time.
However for those not qualifying for the Scottish Farm Advisory Service, or who still find the weight of a printed copy in their coat pocket more reassuring, the traditional version is available at a cost of £25 plus postage and packaging. To order, or for more information, visit www.sac.co.uk/fmh or call the Rural Business Unit on 0131 603 7525.

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