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  • Concentrate on the certainties now in order to be strong for the future

  • I hope you have all now recovered from the election result and are, like me, getting pretty fed up with listening to the media’s continual doom and gloom predictions for our future pre and post the Brexit negotiations. As an individual business there is very little we can do to influence the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. However, as a business it is imperative that we make sure we are in a good position to react to and accommodate the changes that will inevitably be introduced when we finally leave the EU. We need to do this in order that we can rebuff any temporary downturns in the different agricultural sectors and, more importantly, so that we can take advantage of the opportunities that will inevitably be available for agriculture going forward.
    We need to concentrate on what is available at now, and take advantage of them in order to meet our objectives going forward. Currently we have planning laws that are favourable to farmers and landowners looking to change the use of their farm buildings whether it is for business or residential use. Class Q conversions of farm buildings to residential use, whilst being restrictive can enable a business to achieve capital growth in addition to providing alternative income streams. The change of use of farm buildings to business use can also achieve the same results often for less expenditure so do consider the opportunities available to you.

    BPS payments are here for a minimum of three more years and the ability to obtain five years Countryside Stewardship funding from January 2018 is available if an application is submitted by the end of September. We need to use these guaranteed income streams strategically whilst they are available, whether it is to fund diversification, restructure or pay off debt. A business needs to understand its current position and have a steer for where it is going. Those running the business need to have clear objectives and goals in order to put in place a business plan that will allow the business to prosper and grow in the short, medium and long term. In my experience it is always beneficial to have a third party review your proposed plans inorder to offer objective advice whether to encourage great ideas or to challenge others that may be a little outside of the box.