Farmers Guardian targets South West with launch of local edition

Farmers Guardian has launched a weekly regional edition for farmers in the South West.

The edition will have a similar format to Farmers Guardian but will have greater emphasis on regional and local news. It will cover five counties across the South West.

Consultant editor Alan Prosser said the readership profile was considerably different to other parts of the UK and the aim was to provide farmers with news that was more relevant.

“Before, we tended to cover stories in the South West as and when they arose. Now we have got dedicated people looking at farming in far more detail. Farmers Guardian is strong on national agricultural news, business data and livestock issues – this will have a much more regional approach,” he told Press Gazette.

The South West edition will be run by existing staff on Farmers Guardian, including Vicky Rogers, who will be dedicated to covering news in that area.

It will have a print run of 14,000 and will go on sale every Friday – the same day as Farmers Guardian.

The title’s owner, CMP Information, is believed to have put a substantial sum behind the launch and 8,000 copies of the first issue will be distributed free to farmers. Prosser declined to comment on sales targets, but Farmers Guardian has an ABC of around 58,000.

Prosser said Farmers Guardian had reported good sales despite the crisis in agriculture. “Our sales have gone very well. Agriculture is pulling away from foot and mouth and BSE, but it is still a very tough industry. There are a whole range of regulatory issues such as GM foods, but I think it’s fair to say Farmers Guardian has outperformed a difficult market in the past two years.”

If the launch goes well, CMPi will consider launching similar editions in other parts of the country. “This is an ambitious paper and there are a range of things it wants to do. It is important that the right type of agricultural news is reaching the right type of farmer and that approach of focusing content is something I think we will be developing further,” Prosser added.

By Ruth Addicott

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