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From the editor: Planning for the future is now harder than ever before

BusinessBriefing Media AgriculturePrices & trendsBrexit+-

THERE is no doubt the assurances of the past week from the Treasury have raised as many questions as they have answers.

 

While it is positive to know funding for certain agri-environment schemes will be in place until 2020, the future of farm support after that is decidedly, well, undecided.

 

Pledges have been made that there will be a form of support in place after the official exit from the EU takes place, but the exact nature of what that will be is anybody’s guess, with some already fearing there will be more hoops to jump through.

 

We hear all the time, particularly from tenancy sector leaders, that short-termism is bad for business as it restricts the ability to plan ahead.

 

Yet this is specifically the problem faced by farmers across the board as they have no idea in what form support cash will be available in after 2020 and whether it will be at current levels.

 

Business leaders pointed out in the wake of the Brexit vote that one of the biggest challenges was going to be coping with the uncertainty the vote would cause because, more than anything, businesses hate the unknown and the dampener it puts on growth.

 

Not that you would think there is much to be worried about in the short-term if you looked at the spike in dairy cattle prices, store and fat sheep, and arable prices creeping ever higher.

 

And there is no doubt there are a raft of individuals and businesses within farming who will prosper whatever, as shown by the truly inspiring features in this week’s dairy supplement.

 

But longer term the picture is less clear as, for many businesses, the four years to 2020 is really the blink of an eye in the context of longer term commercial plans.

 

Let us hope farming unions and representative bodies develop a strong voice as the battle for the future of UK farming outside of the EU hots up by the week.

 

And finally….

 

Keep an eye on fginsight.com in the coming days for a roundup of all the best bits from 24 Hours in Farming, Farmers Guardian’s brilliant social media showcase of the industry in partnership with NFU Mutual.

Farmers Guardian
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