Brexit tops farming issues as show season opens for rural businesses

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 20 Jun 2017

THE FUTURE of farming post-Brexit is understandably the main focus for those working in the arable sector, according to the results of a very recent survey.

The region’s leading law firm, Wilkin Chapman, attended the two-day Cereals event in Lincolnshire last week, where a first Future Farms Poll was carried out.

Over the course of the show, which is the arable farming industry’s leading technical event, the firm invited farmers to take part - asking them to identify, the issues that were most important to them. The same poll will take place at this week’s The Lincolnshire Show and next month’s Driffield Show.

Initial results revealed that 42 per cent who took part had a main focus on agri-policy and what life would be like if changes in EU subsidies were to take place.

The present Government has already moved to re-assure farmers that it will match current subsidies until 2020, although the picture is less clear after that.

Farmer Keith Spilman has 800-acres of arable land in Clixby, Lincolnshire and on the Nottinghamshire border. He participated, citing potential changes to subsidies as a major issue.

“I do believe a lot of farmers, especially tenant farmers, are concerned about any changes to subsidies,” he said.

Mr Spilman explained that farmers, along with their counterparts in Europe, get subsidies based on the hectares of land they farm, enabling them to keep a constant business through good and bad crop harvests and market variations.

He added: “Without the subsidy, if a good proportion of their land is poor or prices are low, they could find themselves in difficulty. My message is ‘don’t forget us’!”

Coming a close second in the poll, was the issue of succession and planning for the future, with 29 per cent listing it.

 Farm diversification came in third, taking 21 per cent of the votes, with the environment and disease control polling just 8 per cent of the overall vote.

Catherine Harris, partner and head of agriculture with Wilkin Chapman, said: “Agriculture is a hugely important sector for us. We have a large dedicated team of agricultural experts and are the legal panel member for the NFU in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

“A lot of our solicitors and partners have direct family links with the farming community and close ties with the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network and other regional agriculture related bodies.  We therefore have an in-depth knowledge of the sector, but understanding the specific concerns of our clients in today’s uncertain climate will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of legal advice in this sector. We look forward to seeing the results of the poll.”

To have your say about what the next five years of farming looks like to you, visit the Wilkin Chapman stand at Row Five, Stand 12, Fifth Avenue - next to the NFU - at The Lincolnshire Show.

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