‘Be prepared for Brexit’ was the message to farmers and rural business owners at a seminar in Cornwall.
Speakers urged farmers to use the next four years of ‘relative certainty’ to take stock of their businesses and develop a medium term plan.
It was the latest in a bi-annual series of seminars organised by the three firms and designed to bring the agricultural sector together to discuss and examine topical issues.
Key matters covered at the latest event included the response of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to the June 23 referendum and how the run-up to 2020 will be managed. The government has guaranteed it will fund current EU subsidies until at least 2020.
Also under discussion were agricultural policy opportunities for the future, an examination of up to date research data on the farmland market and analysis of how farms could ensure they were ready for life after 2020.
Brian Harvey, Head of Agriculture, PKF Francis Clark, said: “Our message to farmers is simple. Make the most of the period of relative certainty up to 2020 to consider all aspects of your farm business and develop a medium term plan for implementation after 2020.”
Phil Reed, Head of Rural Services, Stephens Scown LLP, examined what UK farming policy could look like after Brexit.
He said: “While there are still many areas to be clarified, we know that big changes will come in the areas of direct support, trade, regulation and labour and these will depend on whether we have a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit. There will be opportunities for farming businesses, but also challenges.”
Gareth Rowe, Director, Savills, said: “Predicting the implications of Brexit on farming businesses is far from straightforward. However, by examining the measurable impact of changing tariffs, currency fluctuations and labour movements on areas such as livestock and fresh produce prices, land values and subsidy payments, we can at the very least monitor what is happening and take a measured view on where to go from here.”
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About PKF Francis Clark
Chartered accountants and business advisers PKF Francis Clark has annual revenue of £38 million, a team of more than 580 people and 59 partners. Founded in 1919, the award-winning firm has eight offices across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. PKF Francis Clark is a member of PKF UKI which is ranked 11th in the Accountancy Age 2016 survey of top accountancy firms. www.pkf-francisclark.co.uk
About Stephens Scown LLP
Westcountry-based Stephens Scown LLP is an award-winning legal firm with offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. It has over 290 staff, including more than 50 partners, and is one of the largest law firms in Devon and Cornwall, offering a broad range of expert business and personal legal services, as well as expertise in a number of key market sectors.
Founded in 1938, Stephens Scown is consistently ranked highly in the UK’s top two independent legal guides, Chambers and Legal 500 and was named one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For 2015. Clients range from individuals to SMEs, FTSE and international companies. For more information www.stephens-scown.co.uk
Savills is a global real estate services provider listed on the London Stock Exchange. Savills operates from over 700 owned and associate offices, employing more than 30,000 people in over 60 countries throughout the Americas, the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services to clients all over the world. www.savills.co.uk or www.savills.com