Businesses which are not efficient or diversified may not survive in a no-deal scenario, with the environment suffering as a result.
That was the message from Devon suckler beef and arable farmer Jilly Greed who is one of a number of high profile farmers to throw their weight behind the new Farmers For a People’s Vote campaign.
Ms Greed, a co-founder of Ladies in Beef, said while she classed her business as ‘resilient’ the farm faced a future where it would not be profitable for the next generation.
She said: “If we cannot make it work, with an entrepreneurial, enterprising outlook, on 600 acres of good, flat land, I do not know how others are going to make it."
Ms Greed told the London press conference the 250-head suckler herd had gone from being heavily reliant on grain to a mob grazing system, with Aberdeen Angus sired cattle to reach market premiums.
“We are farming more environmentally and are more efficient and more economical," she said.
“Cattle go to a local abattoir and our average age is 16-18 months, on a tight eight-week calving period.
“But we are already about £150 /head down on the beef price, 50p/kg down on a premium product which is part of the West Country PGI.
“We will make on finished cattle being sold somewhere in the region of a £25,000 loss.
“With one employed person and a full time partner that is a huge cut out of your profit margin.”
The arable side of the business was also being impacted, with contracts to grow oilseed rape for the French automotive industry and linseed for the German food sector ‘gone by the wayside’.
“We are soon going to be planting our OSR for next year but we have no guarantee because there are very few contracts coming after October 31. What business does that?
“Plant in hope and no know what your end price is going to be?"
Mike Gooding, farmer and director of Farmers First, which processes about 10 per cent of the UK’s weekly lamb kill, said no-deal and excluding the UK’s key EU market was ‘manufacturing suicide’.
He said: “There is a real danger the sheep sector and the farming industry in general will be the sacrificial lamb of Brexit negotiations.”
In terms of economics of production going forward, Mr Gooding predicted fewer farmers managing sheep in larger flocks, running across multiple holdings.
He added: “This will bring some people opportunities but there will be casualties along the way.”