Profitability will always come first in a business. This is not greed, it is economics. If a business does not turn a profit or break even it will not survive. Farmers need to be shown that compliance doesn’t have to be a cost, and in fact can improve profitability. All the farmers surveyed saw each area, Environment, Product Quality, Health and Safety and Animal Welfare as very important. the desire to do the right thing is there so If we can show how complying in these areas will help in running a profitable business, we should be able to help them progress. Desire and importance alone is not enough to drive compliance. Farmers are busy, and tasks are constantly getting prioritised; tasks where a farmer can directly link it back to profitability and success are always going to move to the top of the list.
There are three ways that farmers can be encouraged to comply with regulation, farm accreditation programs that will give them preferred access to market and premiums. Education around how complying can make their businesses more profitable and reduce their risks and lastly, negatively hit their profitability with fines and tighter restrictions. The first two options will be more successful. Option three doesn’t promote cultural change and relies on the regulator constantly looking over the farmers shoulder, as soon as the regulators back in turned behaviour will revert.