Lincolnshire farmers hopeful ahead of Brexit process

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Lincolnshire’s farming community was told to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ at two recent farming updates staged by chartered accountants firm Duncan & Topliss and Brown & Co

Audiences in Greetham and Woodhall Spa heard from a host of speakers who gave advice on what farmers could do in preparation for Britain exiting the European Union under the banner ‘Planning Ahead’.

Keynote speaker Sir Peter Kendall, former NFU Chairman and current Chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, said that while 2016’s upheaval in politics has been unprecedented, not much has actually changed and won’t start being discussed properly until 2020. While he highlighted international trade, agricultural policy, migrant labour and regulations as causes for concern, he suggested farming remained integral in politicians’ minds.

Sir Peter said: “Agriculture is always the last thing to be decided upon as it is so important.

“In the meantime, there is what we could term as a ‘honeymoon period’ and there are plenty of opportunities to be had before some guaranteed payments from the EU end in 2020.

“There’s time to take advantage and grow while the market remains open and free.

“However, it is still important to look ahead, into automation and robotics and other ways to improve business.

“The rise in population and a growing middle class are great opportunities for the sector – the middle class in particular have more disposable income and have specialist and more demanding tastes.”

Benjamin Bodart, co-founder of CRM AgriCommodities, gave the audience his analysis of the wheat market in the UK compared to the rest of the world.

The weak currency has meant a hike in prices since summer 2016, but it was suggested there needs to be a major event such as drought or environmental shifts for prices to remain high.

Delegate David Robinson said: “The outlook seems good for food production, but what we as producers need, it seems, is to work on that but also have the confidence we are going to be prioritised.”

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