Charlotte Smith and her panel of experts were on fine form at the South of England Farming Conference at Ardingly on November 13. One of the strong early memories of my working career was attending this conference with Tim Calcutt. It has been a regular diary fixture ever since and it is matter of great pride that CLM is now one of the sponsors.
Published last month by Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, it outlines the findings into a two-year trial featuring 34 farmers across 230ha.
When faced with a deadline, there are a number of common responses.
1. Get the job done as quickly as possible without much thought to what you are setting out to achieve.
2. Procrastinate, which often leads to missing the deadline or simply turns into a slower way of arriving at response 1.
Let’s get straight to the point. If we exit without a deal it is highly likely that farming is going to feel the effect more than most. The table opposite speaks for itself. More than 90% of UK produced crops go to the EU.
There was once a time when farming was guided by the weather, the soil and no small amount of hard work. Unfortunately those days are now just a distant memory.
There is a phenomenon that increasingly has a great deal of bearing on our industry.
“We’re not going to mention the B word.”
Whether it’s referring to Brexit or Boris, that has been a common refrain at the start of most of the events we’ve been involved with or attending over the last few weeks.
From the CLA’s ‘Getting to Grips with Grapes’ seminars to a talk on policing at the South of England Show, no one wants to discuss the B word.
‘It’s time to go native.’
A recent cover of Country Life fascinated me. I’ll be honest, it’s usually the magazine’s property pages I flick to fi rst (for what, I hasten to add, is very much ‘lottery’ house shopping), but this grabbed my attention.
Now is a great time to invest in buildings – it can increase effi ciency, bring new opportunities and future-proof your business against whatever Brexit might bring. So is now the moment to seize the initiative and start building?
Favourable permitted development regulations, the availability of cheap fi nance and the contribution that buildings can play to a rural business’s bottom line are prompting many to explore the options.
In a world where much is unknown, here’s one thing we do know: Farms will see a huge drop in direct subsidy payments over the next nine years.
A 200ha (500 acre) farm received a BPS payment of £45,700 in 2018; dependent upon fl uctuations in the exchange rate, this will be similar in 2019 and 2020.