Following the triggering of Article 50, farmers have been urged to prepare by looking at their business without subsidies
Farmers should prepare for life after Brexit by acting as though it has already happened, according to Stuart McKenzie, chief executive of Woldmarsh agricultural buying group.
As Article 50 was triggered, Mr McKenzie advised farmers to put EU payments ‘below their bottom line’ and look at the shape their businesses would be in if it was already outside the EU.
Mr McKenzie said: “UK farming will face a considerable test of its resilience over the next few years. Farmers need to look at their business without subsidy.
“Put your EU payment below your bottom line and see how you feel about how comfortable you are without it.”
Defra Farm Business Income figures for the 2015-2016 season showed some sectors were on average making losses on the farm business, with diversified incomes and subsidies making up all of their income.
While poultry farms in particular were making good incomes from agriculture, the average cereal farm, mixed farm or grazing livestock farm was losing money on the core farming business.
Mr McKenzie added many of his members felt they were passing their subsidy down the supply chain rather than benefiting from it.
Mr McKenzie warned farmers needed to be preparing for Brexit now as subsidies could potentially disappear or fall within three years.
He said: “Be critical of all you do currently, take advice and be accepting of the fact change is inevitable.
“The sooner you take those decisions, the longer you have to implement them and the more palatable they tend to be to those affected.”