Tag Archive: Great Yorkshire Show
Great Yorkshire Show is over for another year, and as expected, it did not disappoint! Thank you to everybody that took the time to see us on our stand and around the showground, as well as those that attended our annual drinks reception and debate.
Our annual Great Yorkshire Show debate has become popular with farmers up and down the country, something that we are extremely proud of as we continue to encourage farmers and farming businesses to share their experiences and views with their peers, advising and supporting each other through a period of uncertainty.
It was always inevitable that the way agriculture in the UK is currently subsidised would undergo some kind of reform regardless of whether direct support is phased out over the next five, ten or twenty years. Without doubt, the agricultural industry is about to see the biggest policy revolution in a generation and we must adapt and face the challenges head on. Elliot Taylor, who leads the Farm Business Consultancy team in County Durham at George F. White discusses why.
“Currently, 62.3% of Farm Business Income or profit in Yorkshire and Humber is from subsidies (2017/18 Farm Business Survey) and we anticipate that these direct payments are going to reduce significantly from 2021 according to the proposed Agricultural Bill. Rather than dwell on this, farmers must to work together, discuss and share best practice and review their business performance as soon as possible to ensure they can continue to be successful.
On Wednesday, Simon Britton, Partner and Head of Farm Business Consultancy at George F. White, hosted a discussion panel at the Great Yorkshire Show. The purpose was to encourage farmers to share their experiences and offer their thoughts on how to prepare for the changes Brexit will inevitably have on the industry; whilst deliberating the current and future opportunities available for safeguarding their future in relation to farming without subsidy, and the impact it may have on land values and rent.
Managing Partner Robyn Peat, Partner and Rural Practice Surveyor Tim Michie and myself were joined by Fred Ryle and Kevin Craggs, both arable and livestock farmers, and Mark Exelby, a mixed organic farmer, making up the discussion panel. We discussed in depth the future of the agricultural industry from our differing perspectives and experience as well as answering some excellent questions from the audience.
One panel member suggested that we would not actually see UK agriculture without some kind of subsidy support in the future. He also believed that we should leave the European Union on 31st October with no deal and enter a 12-month period of adjustment. He also said a pro farming government was vital to help introduce a fair replacement to direct support. Discussion also focused on the proposed Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) and the aim of paying public money for public goods.
The panel agreed that the public must continue to support British farmers, utilising home-grown produce rather than relying so heavily on imported goods. The panel also agreed that farmers must receive a fair price for their produce and not have to compete within imported products, in particular, red meat from areas such as South America that may not have the same high standards of animal welfare as we have in the UK.
Despite some different opinions on the fate of UK agriculture, it was unanimously agreed, that farmers must have a sound understanding of their business and focus on the management practises that will help make them top performers in their sector. The panel also expressed that we must be prepared to support each other during uncertain times and use education to promote the high standards of British farming in our schools.
This week’s announcement of a possible delay to Michael Gove’s plan to abolish subsidy payments, due to the continued uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU, is just another example of why farmers must start now to get their businesses ready for change. The first step to take is to understand how reliant your business is on direct support payments whilst exploring the opportunities to become more efficient and profitable. We can see from the previously mentioned statistics that the majority of farms are hugely reliant on subsides but we at George F. White believe that with careful business planning and adopting the right strategy the impact the removal of agricultural support payments will have can be reduced.”
Again, thank you to all that visited us over the three days at Great Yorkshire Show, we will look forward to seeing you again soon!
With just over six months to go until we officially leave the European Union (EU), Simon Britton, Partner at George F. White, highlighted just how reliant farmers across the North are on EU subsidy payments.
Our decision to leave the EU has exposed the farming industry’s over dependence on subsidies. According to the Farm Business Income (FBI) Survey, the average profit for a farming business in Yorkshire & Humber over the last 5 years was £103 per acre, farmers received £73 per acre, over the same period, in subsidies. In the North East, farm profits over the last 5 years have averaged £57 per acre, with farmers receiving £80 per acre from subsidies. Many farming businesses are dependent on subsidy; however, it is not clear that these businesses understand to what extent their dependence relies on EU payments.
To highlight these issues, George F. White hosted a panel debate at the Great Yorkshire Show. The purpose of the debate, in which key speakers, including 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 Miles Crossley and Simon Britton from George F. White, was to discuss how farmers can prepare for the long-lasting changes Brexit will create, focusing on changes to subsidy, increased commodity and currency volatility and shortages of labour.
Mr George Eustice, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food recently described his vision for post Brexit Agricultural Policy within the UK as ‘a change in mind set for farmers.’ The Minister said that he saw new policy as ‘rewarding and incentivising farmers for what they do and not subsidising them for income lost’. He indicated that the government will seek to support farmers, not based on the amount of land farmers own, but to reward them for helping the environment, water quality and to changes in husbandry, ultimately making more productive working practices.
DEFRA has set out its thoughts on a new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) where farms and landowners will effectively quote a ‘price’ for the work based on a set ‘price list’. It is understood that those plans offering the best in value to the tax payer will be accepted.
Although we understand that farm subsidies are protected until 2022, my advice to farmers would be to utilise this time frame in order to fundamentally understand their business by preparing management accounts which will highlight farm income streams and to what degree their businesses are reliant on grants and subsidies. We can see from the previously mentioned statistics that the majority of farms in the North East and Yorkshire & Humber are hugely reliant on farm subsidy support. These farmers need to make changes to de-risk their businesses and ultimately future proof them, so they can operate with reduced funding support.
If you would like to start understanding and de-risking your business and its reliance on farm subsidies please contact Simon Britton email@example.com or 07866 721146.
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)
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
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.”
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
Despite the rain on Tuesday, the Great Yorkshire Show delivered once again and we enjoyed welcoming clients old and new, friends and fellow professionals to our stand. It really does demonstrate what a great county we live and work in. There was quiet optimism around with all sectors of our industry seeing a slight resurgence in pricing and with hopes of a decent harvest looming, the bank managers were hopeful of some overdraft reductions.
Many discussions were had and a common theme was succession and what should we be looking at next. Brexit clearly was a hot topic; I can’t stand listening to the doom and gloom merchants, at present it could be argued that for the agricultural sector it’s just giving us a lift and yes, we are all aware that agriculture may be used as a pawn in trade negotiations, but don’t forget we are not self-sufficient in most produce and so we have a market within our own borders. Its pleasing to see that Coop are using all British fresh meat from now and we should be supporting them and working closer with the trade to ensure this is standard practice. I believe the consumers are getting more educated in provenance and locality of food but we still need to be competitive on pricing and that’s often the issue of those trying to sell direct to consumers. When asked about what to do next, my message is for farming business to look at the opportunities and sectors that are not subsidised in order to protect for the future and split the risk and reliance on brown envelope payments.
The show is a great family occasion, often with 3 generations all present and talk turned on how to pass the farm on. For those agricultural tenants, planning a transfer of a generational tenancy requires a bit of thought and time in order to satisfy the strict requirements of the AHA 86. Don’t forget it’s the one chance for a landlord to get the farm back or negotiate a better package and I can’t stress enough how vital it is to plan early; don’t wait until death when there’s often nothing that can be done.
The financial burden of succession planning is often the biggest hurdle. If you’re an owner occupier, a vast majority of farming businesses will not be able to sustain the living costs of often 3 generations and families from the farm. Unfortunately, many have been sceptical about pensions (probably justifiably) in the past and just assume that the farm will support them, but this leads to significant added financial pressures in an already tight business. I urge you all to consider how you plan for this and that starts when you leave college. If you do see an increase in profitability, instead of ringing the machinery dealer, think about your families and the farms future; it may be more prudent to put into pensions, particularly now that they are heritable and can pass down the generations.