Tag Archive: farming

Graduate Surveyor: Local Yorkshire Farmer James Thompson

Local farmer, James Thompson, has been welcomed back to George F. White as a Graduate Surveyor after a successful university placement year.

James re-joins our team to bolster the growing rural professional and farm consultancy services in our Shiptonthorpe and Bedale branches. James recently graduated from Newcastle University where he achieved a BSc in Agribusiness; the degree requires students to undertake a placement year, in which James carried out successfully with us back in 2016/17 and proceeded to impress the management team. Not only does James have an exceptional understanding of the business, he grew up locally to the area and boasts an outstanding level of geographical knowledge.

Graduate - James Thompson

Simon Britton, Partner and Head of Yorkshire at George F. White, said: “We are delighted to welcome James Thompson back to George F. White; he is a strong addition to our growing team here in Yorkshire. A graduate position at George F. White is a great place for James to start his career; we have a strong team of eleven, in which over 65% were recruited at graduate level and are currently working towards or sitting in management positions.  James brings a lot of energy and willingness to learn, a fantastic quality to see in a graduate and certainly the qualities that we expect to see in our employees. I am confident that James will continue to excel throughout his APC studies and over the course of his professional career, we promise to nurture his talent as we have his colleagues.”

James achieved a first class grade on his dissertation which focused on government policy in agriculture and farm diversification in the North and East of Yorkshire; in light of the current political climate, James’ research will prove extremely useful to local farmers and his agricultural background will allow him to relate to the day-to-day operation of a farming business.

On his decision to continue his studies at George F. White, James said: “Having lived locally to the Shiptonthorpe office, I knew of the strong reputation that George F. White has in the community. Whilst on my placement year I not only discovered that the employees at the firm are one big family but also have a great depth of knowledge in such a wide range of enterprises in the rural economy; I was over the moon to be offered a graduate position as I believe George F. White is the perfect place to learn and practise my knowledge to help me with my professional exams in the near future. “

Succession: Planning for the Worst, Hoping for the Best

Everybody appears to be talking about succession planning and it is all too easy to become numb to the advice which we are all getting from our bank managers, solicitors, accountants and land agents. Managing Partner, Robyn Peat, breaks it down.

So what is succession planning and why is it important?

The heading for this article could easily have been ‘A Stitch in Time Saves Nine’ however my heading ‘Planning for the Worst, Hoping for the Best’ cuts, I think, to the nub of the advice to have succession planning in place.

Succession PlanningBut why do we need it?

If you don’t plan for what you want to happen it probably won’t – that is to say what you want to happen will not, and when I say you I mean collectively; families, business, etc.

In terms of family business and generational businesses the key is who is going to end up with control of the business and secondly and possibly the same, who will own the business assets.

Families and farming families often find it incredibly difficult to in the first instance, be clear on who they want to end up running the business and owning it.

In these situations the unforeseen often occurs; no only interfamily strife, fighting and significant legal costs and stress but also the collateral damage of generational fall-outs and unforeseen tax bills.

So how can all of that be avoided?

  1. Work out how the family / the business is going to transfer to the next generations. The business may for example decide that for a number of reasons the plan isn’t that the assets are passed on to a member or a group of family members  and  everything will be sold and divided out or partitioned at a point in time.  Whatever the decision this will probably be the culmination of a significant amount of discussion and preparation. It is in this process that a trusted advisor or someone coming in from the “outside” without any preconceived ideas or allegiances can help guide family decision.
  1. Remember that a equality doesn’t equal fairness. Sometimes depending on what the objectives are, assets should not be divided unequally.  If a clear objective is that the farm will continue often if the assets are divided equally between all of the family members then there won’t be sufficient capital or a viable business. The guide needs to be a high level objective of say carry on the business or divide up the capital – rarely can both be achieved.
  1. Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. Tax is really important and should follow the objectives rather than guide them.  All too often schemes are set up to purely minimise tax but don’t actually achieve the objectives of the family.
  1. Do the detail. Once the headline is understood then the detail must be delivered and that detail often delivered by a team of advisors drawn is essential.  There are many other key steps in the process however it is important not to over complicate the process. The essential steps are for example – what are the tax consequences of the plan and therefore values need to be scoped out and evaluated and how can the cash flow be managed and working capital raised – detailed business plans are required .

There are many tools at hand to balance the competing objectives of family members e.g.:

  • Partition of land subject to overages to ensure a fair division of development value
  • Payment of legacies
  • trusts and company structures

Fundamentally however succession, planning is about avoiding unnecessary conflict and ensuring that what is wanted is delivered without unnecessary cost and conflict which is all too easily the outcome from a recipe of sibling rivalries, land capital and farming families.

Great Yorkshire Show: Join the Debate

Great Yorkshire Show commences in just a few weeks (10th – 12th July). As always, we invite you to join us on our stand (201) to meet our team as well as enjoying some light refreshments.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday 10th July
10.30am – George F. White Tenancy Update with Matthew Brown and Robyn Peat (TFA stand – 715)
5pm – Evening drinks and canapé reception (George F. White stand – 201)

Wednesday 11th July
11am – Join the Debate: the direct effects of Brexit on farming businesses (George F. White stand – 201)

Thursday 12th July
8.30am – Succession Planning for Tenant Farming Families with Matthew Brown (NFU stand – 680)

Great Yorkshire Show

We predict that post Brexit resilience will be a key focus at the Great Yorkshire Show this year; we will be hosting a panel debate to discuss the effects a reduced subsidy environment will have on farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

Join the Debate: the direct effects of Brexit on farming businesses

George F. White
Stand 201
Wednesday 11th July, 11am

The key debaters are Geoff Hall, Regional Director at Lloyds Bank, John Lund, a livestock farmer, Tom Bayston, an arable farmer and owner of Park Lodge Shooting School as well as George F. Whites, Simon Britton and Miles Crossley, who will explain why alternative income streams need to be a key priority for the sector.

Talking ahead of the Great Yorkshire Show, Simon Britton said: “It’s clear now that there is a significant change in farm subsidies on the horizon and for many it could be substantially reduced. Mr George Eustice, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, recently described his vision for post Brexit agricultural policy within the UK as a ‘change in mind set for farmers’. The Minister stated that he saw new policy as ‘rewarding and incentivising farmers for what they do, and not subsidising them for income lost’ and indicated that the government will still seek to support farmers, not based on the amount of land they own, but by rewarding them for helping the environment, water quality and to changes in husbandry; ultimately making more productive working practices. This is a fundamental change to our industry and will significantly impact farm businesses. The purpose of our debate, and the main aim of our farm consultancy team moving forwards, is to prepare our client’s businesses for the impact of the changes that will face us, as an industry, over the next few years.”

Great Yorkshire Show


Attendees are encouraged to get involved in the debate, asking questions and providing opinions on what the future holds in a subsidy free farming environment and how they can or are planning to safeguard their main farm business and what financial support exists outside of government grant opportunities.

Simon added: “Geoff Hall from Lloyds will talk about how banks can support farmers following Brexit through secured lending and cash flow support. Tom Bayston, will be illustrating how he’s diversified from the core livestock business to safeguard the future of his farm. Ultimately, we’ll be discussing what reduced subsidy looks like, what it means it terms of profit and loss for farmers, and how, if you’re a farmer or a landowner, why you’re in a prime position to provide long term security and stability to yourself and your business. It’s going to be a somewhat lively and energetic debate, so please join us if you can.”

Click here to RSVP

Michael Gove on the Future of Farming

We asked Partner and Head of Farm, Simon Britton about his thoughts surrounding Michael Gove’s vision for the future of farming at the Oxford Farming Conference 2018.

Simon Britton - farming

‘Michael Gove has intimated that, post 2022, farming subsidies are clearly going to move from the current BPS scheme to a rewarding farmers for environmental benefits and promoting public access. It is hoped that this move does not jeopardise our UK Food security or force UK farmers to cut costs. The UK has one of the highest crop and animal welfare standards in the EU, let’s keep it that way.’

Over the past 12 months we have steered our advice, talks and seminars around the importance of business resilience in uncertain times. We are currently preparing our farming clients for change by helping them gain a better understanding of the financial health of their business. For more information on how our team can help you, please contact your local consultant:

Northumberland and Borders: David Hume
Durham: Alan Falshaw
Yorkshire: Sally Horrocks