Agents Eye column – June

26th June 2012

Attending my first Cereals event last week, I realised it wasn’t just a day out for the boys to look at all the latest big toys but a show that provided stimulating debates on current issues and demonstrated the importance of research and development in the industry.

Attracting new entrants in to the farming industry and raising the game in promoting itself as an attractive rewarding career destination is ever topical. One of my brothers recently attended a careers event at his old school to promote farming, and many were surprised by the variation of jobs on offer in the back of the farmers weekly; it is such a diverse industry, we need to promote it more to the youth of today.

Farmers are getting better at marketing themselves, and Open Farm Sunday last week demonstrated this with over 150,000 people visiting 324 farms across the country; what a fantastic way of bringing the general public closer to farming and broadening the consumers horizons.

Strategic planning for your business should be at the forefront of your mind; a clear plan of where you are going, how you are going to get there and the resources you need is paramount. Succession planning forms a part of this, and although a difficult topic for many families, can bring significant benefits to the business and enthuse and encourage the younger generation.

How often do you and the family sit down and consider your objectives and goals? Is your business structured in the right way to minimise exposure to tax? An action plan needs to be drawn up and implemented to realise your aspirations in a tax and cost effective manner. Our family meetings at home always provide good entertainment with a mixture of farmers and agents in the family all thinking they know best! However, it does give us all direction on what the future holds.

Who would have thought that in the month of June parts of the country would be devastated by floods; many property owners have been deluged by flash flooding and farmers have lost acres of grazing and land to cut hay and silage from. In a short space of time we have seen water go from being a valuable asset in the drought, to a liability. No doubt those farmers affected will be looking for compensation and negligence claims on flooded properties are bound to increase. Valuing the effects of flooding is a complex area and specialist advice should be sought.

As a reminder, applications for grants under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme close on 17th July; ensure accurate information is submitted in the correct format.

Enjoy the social show season before harvesting begins, and please do come and see us at the Great Yorkshire Show and Driffield Show. The GFW Farm Diversification Award will be presented at the Driffield Show again this year for the most diverse farming business in the East Riding; all those interested in applying please contact us for an application form before the closing date of 27th June.

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