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photo 20.01.2014

The Benefits of Benchmarking

Cormac McKervey organised an agricultural training seminar on Monday 20th January in Ulster Bank, Cookstown. A group of 20 Business Managers from across NI attended including Business Development Managers, Martin Convery, David George, Phil Hill and Conor McNeill.  The guest speakers were Jason McFerran and Ciaran Hamill from CAFRE who provided an overview on the Benchmarking process.

Benchmarking is a service available to Northern Ireland farmers.  It is delivered on behalf of DARD by the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership who work in association with the College of Agricultural, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

Benchmarking is a method of evaluating the physical and financial performance of a farm business and comparing the results against similar farm enterprises to identify where the farm could be improved to increase profitability.

Benchmark data is collected on-farm by a data collector who will visit the farm to collect the information necessary to complete the benchmark. This information is then submitted to CAFRE who will produce a detailed benchmark report which is given to the farmer. A CAFRE Development advisor will arrange a further on-farm visit to review the benchmark report.

This is a free and confidential service which enables farmers to identify the costs of production against the outputs of the business. The CAFRE advisor will then work with the farmer to identify the strengths and weaknesses and focus on areas which will improve profitability for the business.

Jason and Ciaran provided statistics for the Dairy, Beef and Sheep sectors and worked through case studies with the team to help identify factors which differentiate profitable and non profitable farms. Further information can be obtained directly from

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