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Help us to help you by completing the 2024 Business Intentions Survey

‘Help us to help you’ is the message to farmers and crofters from NFU Scotland’s Head of Policy Team, Gemma Cooper, as the Union launches its annual Business Intentions Survey.

The 2024 Business Intentions Survey is now live at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BQTM2XK and the Union is asking members to complete this vital survey by 15 January 2024.  Those who complete the survey are invited to enter into a free draw to win a hamper of Scottish food and drink, valued at £100.

Appealing to the membership, Gemma writes: “Last year, we carried out our first member intentions survey to find out what the issues and concerns were. Our focus is to ensure that farming and crofting businesses are profitable and sustainable, and a solid evidence base is vital when we are speaking to policymakers and parliamentarians. 

“We know that members are concerned about many things, including the direction of future support, spiralling costs of inputs and negative perceptions of what we do. We also know that our fantastic industry is full of innovation, change-making and forward-thinking food producers. 

“Our network of local branches, regions and national committees is a fantastic route for information flow, but being able to supplement this with data from the survey is invaluable because that input helps us to tell the story of how things are on the ground for farmers and crofters. We know that policy is a key lever for business decisions and behavioural change, and we need to understand this first hand to help us be credible. 

“More than 550 members helped us last year by taking part. What did we do with that information? 

“Firstly, I want to reassure anyone taking part in the survey that any individual information provided is confidential and we do not share this any further. 

“Last year, our policy team were able to consider the combined survey data to identify main threads of information. Some of this was sectoral and some overarching. We used specific statistics in policy meetings and in political engagement. We used it to tell the story of Scottish farming and crofting and the contributions that our members make to the economy. 

“Intentions survey data also helped us to defend some of the criticisms levelled at farming and crofting. For example, members told us that they were practicing targeted use of plant protection products (PPP). This helped us push back against the negative narrative around how PPPs are used on crops. We were able to add colour and emotion to the policy discussions with the anonymised thoughts, feelings, and opinions of individual farmers and crofters. 

“As a specific example, the survey data highlighted in real terms the four per cent decline of our national suckler beef herd. This has been an instrumental sound bite in our lobbying efforts related to the Scottish Suckler Beef Calf Scheme (SSBCS) reform and illustrating the impact of this decline in beef numbers across the supply chain. Our intention is to build datasets across time to continue representing the business intentions of all producers. 

“We are now launching our 2024 intention survey. We know that there is never a quiet time in farming and crofting, and never a great time to be in the office doing paperwork. 

“Our aim is to carry out this survey each year to help us help the membership by building up an accurate and credible picture on intentions over time. 

“By taking the time to help us, the views of those who complete the survey will be hugely important and appreciated and will also assist fellow farmers and crofters. 

“We are the largest agricultural organisation in Scotland, and farmers and crofters are the vital part of how successful NFU Scotland is in making an impact on their behalf. So my message to farmers and crofters is; “We need you to help us help you,” and I urge them all to complete the 2024 Business Intentions Survey at:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BQTM2XK 

Author: Gemma Cooper

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About The Author

Gemma Cooper

Gemma Cooper is a graduate of Harper Adams and started her career in practical land and estate management. She developed her career as an agricultural and rural business consultant with a specialism in farm diversification. Gemma joined NFUS in 2012 as Legal and Technical Policy Manager and promoted to Head of Policy Team in 2018. She has extensive experience of advocacy on a range of rural policy issues relating to land reform, land use, access and rural law. A qualified Executive Coach, Gemma combines advocacy work with recruitment, management and development of the NFUS team of policy professionals.

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