Simon Britton, Partner at George F. White, explains the importance of knowledge sharing in farming and discusses their upcoming seminar at the National Sheep Associate (NSA) North Sheep event.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict the future impact that our potential exit from the EU will have on the economy. As we’ve discussed before, in order to minimise the impact of a potential reduction in direct subsidy payments and disruption of our free trade agreements; farmers need to review their businesses and endeavour to become a top performing farm business. There’re a number of characteristics of a top performing farm business, including budgeting, knowledge sharing, benchmarking and most importantly, a clear direction of travel; changing 100 things by 1% rather than one thing by 100%.
On Wednesday 5th June, the bi-annual NSA North Sheep event will take place at New Hall Farm in Settle, North Yorkshire. Over the years, their seminar programme has become one of the most prestigious in the calendar of summer events; challenging, inspiring and educating the sheep farming community whilst promoting knowledge sharing around, sometimes, more difficult subjects. We’re extremely proud to be sponsoring the seminar programme again this year; in times of uncertainty it’s vital that we take every opportunity to discuss the safeguarding of our farming businesses by improving their performance.
Managing Partner, Robyn Peat, and myself, will be kicking off proceedings at 10am in the Seminar Marquee, discussing Share Farming Agreements (SFA), Contract Farming Agreements (CFA) as well as obtaining a Farm Business Tenancy (FBT).
Over the last two to three years, our dedicated team of 14 farm business consultants have seen a significant increase in opportunities for joint venture agreements and land being let on farms across the north of England. This increase is, in part, due to retiring farmers but also businesses that are scaling down due to a significant increase in machinery costs. Agreements can be structured that’ll allow the farmer to still reside in the farm house, continuing to farm the land, yet not having to employ all the labour and machinery that’s required in modern farming. The uncertainty, namely Brexit, hasn’t helped and we feel that this has accelerated a number of retirements and exits from agriculture; however, this offers opportunity for others. It’s important to give farmers a better understanding of the opportunities open to them through joint venture agreements and structured applications for farm business opportunities.
Our talks will give attendees a much better understanding of how and when to use a SFA or CFA and how to get to the top of the list when applying for a FBT.
In order for some farming businesses to expand, their only opportunity could be applying for a FBT. The seminar will give the attendees clear instruction as to how to apply and what to include in the initial application in order to get you to the interview stage. We’ve been incredibly successful in obtaining FBTs for our clients and know what goes into making a credible application.
The attendees will gain valuable knowledge that’ll help them make decisions and assess opportunities that may come their way. We’ll clearly outline how to best take advantage of these opportunities and make sure that when you submit an application, or for that matter establish a SFA or a CFA, it’s for the right reasons and it’s going to fulfil your business objectives.
In the current market, as a team of farm business consultants, we think that there’ll be a number of opportunities arising in the future and it’s imperative that farmers understand these opportunities and how best to take advantage of them. We know that our industry has to change and farm businesses must consider how much they know about their existing business, how change will affect their business, how they’re preparing for change, and also opportunities that will arise in the future.
As we mentioned, knowledge sharing is imperative, I can guarantee that when you come to NSA North Sheep, and attend one of the seminars, you will learn something new and you’ll and benefit from it.