August 2019 – The tightening of the screw

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.

 Article by Alex Macdonald Open PDF

July 2019 – The only word that matters right now is “begin”

“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. 

 Article by Mark Weaver Open PDF

June 2019 – New era for “heritage” breeds

‘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.

 Article by Anthony Weston Open PDF

May 2019 – Erect a new building

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. 

 Article by Matthew Berryman Open PDF

April 2019 – Don’t be an ostrich

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.

 Article by Kevin Jay Open PDF

March 2019 – How to make you diversification succesful

Farmers have incorporated non-food enterprises into their businesses for years.  When “diversifi cation” was fi rst allied to agriculture it coincided with some major events; the introduction of milk quotas in 1984, the BSE crisis in the 90s and the downturn in arable profi tability in the late 80s and early 90s.

 Article by Matthew Berryman Open PDF

February 2019 – Is Brexit really that important?


Bill and Ben are at their local.  “The boss is still talking about going to 300 milkers. An extra 50 cows won’t make much difference to the workload but what happens if there is no one to buy the milk?” They chat about Brexit and conclude they know far too little about WTO or international trade agreements to form a meaningful opinion. 

 Article by Matthew Berryman Open PDF

January 2019 – Winter talk turns to funds and scheme

Winter is conference and farm discussion group season.

In the past, my attendance has always peaked to coincide with a review of the Common Agricultural Policy. It is perhaps no surprise then that I find myself attending these events on a frequent basis this winter.

 Article by Kevin Jay Open PDF

December 2018 – Succession planning vital in era of “dramatic” change

Our industry is populated by SME entrepreneurs who aren’t in general afraid of anything, but mention succession – whether through inheritance or retirement – and the tension levels rise.

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a farmer discussion group about succession planning.

 Article by Mark Weaver Open PDF

November 2018 – New Agriculture Bill could herald more regulations

Sometimes the devil is in the detail and as a detail man, lack of it worries me.

We are told by government that “the Agriculture Bill provides for a range of enabling powers to ensure stability for farmers as the UK exits from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and compliance with the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture.

 Article by Anthony Weston Open PDF

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