Get ready for tough times ahead in farming

While the pace of agricultural policy change might be slower in Scotland, all of the UK’s farmers were yesterday warned by farm consultants not to put off making the difficult decisions necessary to prepare their businesses for the future.

Giving a review of prospects for the coming year’s harvest, Richard King, director with the farm consultants Andersons, said that while there were some grounds for optimism on cereal returns this year, this should not result in growers taking a more relaxed attitude to preparing their businesses for hard times.

“With some major changes coming through over a very short timescale, especially to the BPS support system, the old adage that it’s better to mend the roof while the sun is shining certainly comes into play.

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“Even in Scotland where producers might have a slightly longer stay of execution on support changes, now is the time to face up to difficult and hard decisions, rather than putting them off until a rainy day.”

“And if you have a good idea for developing your business, why would you wait for policy change to drive it forward?”

While he said that there were signs that the Scottish government was considering using agriculture as a lever to help it meet its climate change targets, he also warned against building hopes that carbon offsetting credits would provide a lucrative answer.

“While some may think that there is a pot of gold to be earned from harvesting carbon, I’m less certain that this actually exists at the end of the rainbow,” said King.

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