The Register of Sheep Advisers (RoSA) said the increasing pace of change to farm support systems has highlighted the need for many sheep farmers to seek out professional advice.
The Register was established in 2021 by the National Sheep Association (NSA) and BASIS Registration.
Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: “With so many changes to farm support being implemented or on the way, it can be challenging for farmers to know which direction to take their business is and which, if any, of the new schemes are suited to their systems.
“The removal of the Basic Payment Scheme in all four UK nations will mean change for nearly every sheep farming business, be that adapting existing systems, diversifying and/or applying for new schemes.
“Information is readily available for schemes that are already open for applications, but the volume can be overwhelming and it is not always clear, so how can farmers ensure they can make the most of what is on offer to them? The answer may be the use of a professional livestock farm adviser such as one of the experienced members of the Register of Sheep Advisers (RoSA).”
RoSA is a network of well-rounded professional advisers working within the UK sheep industry. The online RoSA register directs farmers to advisers with specialisms including business management, electronic reading systems, animal health, nutrition and breeding.
An area of advice especially useful during the next year and beyond is guidance to adapt sheep farming business during and beyond the transition from the Basic Payment Scheme, including ways to be involved in agri-environment and other new funding streams.
James Oliver, a farm business consultant and sheep farmer from Northumberland, said: “The RoSA network is critical in these ever-changing times with significant shifts in payments and how the government is issuing support. Now is a pivotal time when farmers need to embrace change rather than be scared of it.
“Many sheep farmers are already doing a lot of the work needed for support options so they should be rewarded for these practices and easily tap into these stewardships schemes. With increasing capital costs in farming, these can help with infrastructure such as fencing and hedging.”
Mr Oliver believes the appointment of an adviser who truly understands sheep farming could help to ensure farmers know what is available.
He added: “There are a lot of good advisers out there with practical sheep experience who can relate to their clients and help them to increase their resilience.”