The Farm Advisory Service (FAS) is performing a range of functions in giving farmers ideas for action, a better understanding of which actions to take, their potential benefits and how to do so (with greater confidence).
About a third of the recommended actions would not have been taken without the input of the FAS.
In terms of the benefits achieved, the FAS is mainly acting to improve the benefits farmers and crofters achieve through taking recommended actions. These benefits are quite wide ranging including business performance benefits such as increased profitability, the creation and restructuring of businesses, creation and safeguarding of employment and various environmental benefits.
Whilst the mentoring sample was small (reflecting the small proportion of farmers who have been supported in this way), high proportions enjoyed a range of benefits from the support they received.
Satisfaction with the service is relatively high. It is perceived to offer high quality, practical advice.
The majority of respondents struggled to identify other support they would like or improvements to the FAS. Areas that were highlighted by some respondents that FAS could consider for improvement were:
- Improved marketing of the service
- Less paperwork in the provision of the service
- More specific, detailed, relevant advice
- Greater accessibility of the service in terms of locations and formats of support
- Speed of service
- More follow up
- More specialist advisors.