The possibility of the end of subsidies post 2020, or the focus of any remaining being heavily biased towards environmental schemes, adds further to uncertainty.
Added to these issues is the question of land prices and sustainable rents; two more budgets could also add changes to the taxation of land with a forthcoming general election.
All these factors could spread doom and gloom but for those farmers willing to embrace modern information technology there will be opportunities.
UK Agriculture plc is a past master at adaptability and those who supply it follow suit or risk falling behind the curve. Our client base has diversified to cope with fluctuating incomes over the last thirty years and the flexibility of our software reflects this.
Going forward UK farmers are going to benefit from having accurate real time information (RTI) to make those difficult management decisions regarding cropping rotations and the possibility of the greater use of fallow land.
RTI is vital for making management decisions and there are simple to use software systems out there from people who understand the industry, these easy to use tools are essential for making the correct decisions.
Many businesses have already moved away from the simple owner/occupier farms and have a variety of farming agreements with neighbours. I am sure that post 2020 these agreements will continue to flourish and be more important to those remaining active farmers.
With these agreements comes a greater need for accurate reporting to make sure all parties have clear accounts for the financial results. Greater use of budgets and being able to monitor performance against budget is going to be crucial for those farmers wishing to take advantage of the post 2020 farming landscape. There are budget planning software products for those looking at the “what if” scenarios of taking on more land.
Asking the critical question “Does it add value to the business or just burden on the core business?” is a start before producing the reports required to convince all parties of the right project on which to focus scarce resources or to justify any expansion.
Development is a double sided coin. Suppliers to the farming industry will be adapting their offering to support and remain in the sector, which is why software companies are working hard on progressing cloud accounting solutions and making tax digital.
Change can be a challenge and it can be bruising but it also but brings with it exciting opportunities and winners. One thing that doesn’t change is that knowledge is power.