The uncertainties around Brexit and how it will impact the rural sector remains among the top concerns for farmers in 2019, a solicitor has revealed.
The warning comes as the specialist Rural team at regional law firm Napthens has revealed it has now signed up more than 60 farmers to its Farm Future service.
Farm Future from Napthens is a market-leading fixed cost service aimed at supporting farmers through the practical issues and challenges they face – such as running and developing a successful farming business, owning and managing land, complying with regulations and succession planning.
Andrew Holden, head of Rural at Napthens, reveals the service has grown faster than expected – thanks in part to the uncertain future and concerns around things such as workforce and exchange rate.
Andrew explained: “We know from speaking to clients across Lancashire and Cumbria that they are facing a range of pressures and concerns as they plan for 2019, and the team reports that chief among these is the uncertainty around Brexit.
“Businesses are concerned about the possible lack of workforce with many growers and pickers struggling to recruit a European workforce even before Brexit.
“There are other worries too such as the changing exchange rate which could impact the Basic Payment exchange rate or import/export prices.
“Away from Brexit, many in the industry are looking to the future and seeing concerns over the increasing age of those working in the farming sector.
“This may be because the current generation cannot let go of the reigns, or are perhaps unable to do so thanks to the lack of a retirement fund away from the farm.
“This has led to our key financial advisors, the NFU Mutual, advising at joint seminars on Farm Future with Napthens late last year on the importance of pensions to any farming business.
“We had hoped to welcome 60 farmers to the Farm Future service by the end of the financial year – but we now have this number working with us three months earlier than expected.
“This shows the need for specialist support for those operating within the farming sector.”
The Rural team at Napthens advises the regional rural community on a range of issues, and has been an NFU panel firm for many years.