New appointment to roll out whole-farm benchmarking across UK

Published 15 March 17

Enabling more farmers to benchmark performance and improve cost management across whole farm businesses is behind the appointment of a new Farm Benchmarking Manager at AHDB.

Doreen Anderson will head up a team responsible for rolling out a new business management programme focusing on benchmarking and peer-to-peer learning across crop and livestock enterprises.

Doreen has a wealth of experience helping farmers benchmark their costs of production, having worked at AHDB since 2012 on various projects including dairy and beef benchmarking, as well as more recently Monitor Farms and Arable Business Groups.

She said: “This is an exciting time for me and the team as we are at the beginning of an interesting and challenging journey. 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.”

Her appointment is part of AHDB’s renewed drive to upskill farmers and growers by providing them with the tools and understanding to monitor performance relative to their peers and improve their business decision-making.

The team will cover the whole UK, with five regional officers working across beef, lamb, potatoes, cereals, oilseeds and later dairy.

Its primary focus is to help farmer and grower groups upload figures onto AHDB’s new benchmarking software, Farmbench, interpret the results and discuss ways of reducing costs of production. It will also be training consultants, advisers and vets to use Farmbench with their own discussion groups. 

Doreen added: “The number of groups is always increasing and so our diaries are forever full. 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.”

The new programme supports AHDB’s strategic priority of inspiring farming and growing businesses to be more competitive and resilient.

Doreen, who is based in Scotland, can be contacted on doreen.anderson@ahdb.org.uk or 07901 116 454. Regional Benchmarking Officers are Holly Howsam for East Anglia and the East Midlands (07767 001543), David Pett for the South West (07813 454537), Meg Loynes for the West Midlands and Wales (07815 600240) and Emma Nankervis (07391 017763) for the South East. A post for the North is soon to be recruited. All can be emailed on firstname.surname@ahdb.org.uk