Back British Farming Day

Back British Farming

The 13th September marks Back British Farming day, with many MPs wearing a corn and horns badge to show their support for British farming.

The special day is a rallying call to encourage MPs to use their positions to support the industry, especially with upcoming Brexit negotiations. The special badge has been sent to all MPs and Michael Gove, Defra Secretary of State, is calling on his colleagues to join him in showing support.

The British farming industry is worth over £100 billion and currently employs 3.8 million people. The period of Brexit negotiations has been seen as a crucial time to back this ever growing industry.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Concerns over the Future of EU Workers

EU Workers, Brexit

A recent survey by the Food and Drinks Federation has shown that many in the “farm to fork” sector of UK industry are worried that their businesses will become unviable if they lose their EU workers in the wake of Brexit.

More than a third of businesses said that they had already lost many of their EU citizen workers since June 2016 with even more considering leaving the UK now that exit talks are under way.  The agricultural industry in particular considers UK workers lack the “will and skill” needed to efficiently carry out some of the jobs currently done by Europeans.

It is estimated there are currently around 2million EU nationals working in the UK, with around 20% working in the food supply chain.  Whilst the Government has promised to look at introducing a “settled status” for workers, many feel concerned for their future and no mention has been made on how temporary staff will fare.

A representative from the Food and Drinks Federation has described food is a matter of “national security” and has called on the Government to provide greater reassurance to both workers and their employers affected.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Farmers and Banks – a Relationship on the Rocks?

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A recent survey undertaken by YouGov reveals that farming businesses feel that they are not getting sufficient support from their banks.

Over 1,000 small and medium farming businesses took part in the survey, with over 30% stating they would like to see more commitment to the agricultural industry from banks.  One of the biggest concerns was a lack of specialist knowledge to fully comprehend the support the sector requires.  Many also called for greater transparency regarding fees and charges.

As Brexit negotiations continue, there is still considerable apprehension in the farming community about the future of aid and its effect on the industry.  This, coupled with the feeling that banks do not fully understand the particular pressures they are currently facing, suggests that farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated in their relationships with the banking industry.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Will Brexit Affect the Value of Your Farmland?

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Fears have been expressed by some land agents that agricultural land prices may fall in the UK, as a direct result of Brexit.

It is expected that the amount of subsidies, such as the Basic Payment Scheme, will decline once Britain leaves the EU, causing some farmers to re-consider their financial position.  Many are already struggling to make ends meet and a reduction in subsidy support, combined with a predicted interest-rate rise for borrowing, may result in many being forced to leave the industry.

As a consequence the demand for farmland could fall away, with the price per hectare dropping by as much as £1,000, despite it having remained fairly robust so far, at an average of around £7,500 for bare land.

However, even the experts admit it is difficult to predict the full impact of Brexit, with so many other factors coming into play, such as trade tariffs, pricing and food imports.  Post-referendum predictions of economic doom and gloom have not yet come to pass, so those in the industry would be wise not to panic at this stage.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Farmers – Analysis Breeds Performance.

Farmers – Analysis Breeds Performance.jpg

Whilst farming has its own key fields in which farmers and farm managers must succeed to eke out a profit, the importance of the “numbers” can often be misunderstood or forgotten about completely.

With the Brexit decision leaving many farmers wondering where the next subsidy is going to come from, cost analysis and performance monitoring can prove to be key factors in farmers turning a profit over the next few years of uncertainty.

For example, in the rearing of lambs, how many farmers can honestly say they can place a cost per head and therefore have a margin calculated for each lamb/ewe sold?

This is just one of the measures being taken by many farmers now in order to be able to consistently monitor their costs, and as a result, their bottom line. Cost control is proving to be the key difference between success and failure across all types of farming.

Of course, this requires an accurate and successful record keeping system. With this in place, realising and apportioning costs as necessary can often be the easier part of the process. And not to mention the smile on your accountant’s face when presented with your new records system.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.