New Year of Farming
As I write the column today everyone is in festive spirits with just over a week to go till Christmas. This afternoon we will be celebrating at our annual Christmas Party up at our Carlisle Office/Mart, which provides a good opportunity to catch up across the groups departments; Livestock, Insurance, Antiques, Printers, Estate Agency, Lettings and of course the rest of the Land Agency Team.
Since Covid, opportunities to catch up in the flesh appear to have decreased, yet it remains as busy as ever within the sector. The majority of farmers will be rejoicing in their recent receipt of the annual Basic Payment Scheme monies hitting the bank. Although due to rising input costs presenting cashflow issues, the Rural Payments Agency paid a 50% upfront payment back in the summer months. That, coupled with the progressive reductions which are being phased in until 2027, will mean most will be feeling the pinch more so than ever.
Being a native of Dentdale, it was novel last weekend to watch the flurry of excitement on social media of those in the lowlands (lower than us!) rejoicing in the snow, whilst we had nothing more than a frost! I am now feeling very fortunate as I am all too aware of the knock-on implications for the farmers, who have subsequently had to dip into the winter reserves of feed to keep the flock happy, as the snow refuses to melt due to the cold temperatures at the moment. With feed prices at a high, this is an addition to the gross margin of the animal which most farmers will not be able to bear.
Looking to the year ahead, on the farm, we will be scanning in January to see how good a tupping season we have had. Knowing how it will affect the bank balance for the remainder of the year, this is always a tense day. In the office we will be collating the upcoming land sales to be released in Spring, along with looking at the new opportunities presented to the team with the introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain which is set to begin from November 2023.
Finally, I would like to wish you all the very best for the remainder of 2022 and the New Year. Let’s hope 2023 brings with it fewer challenges and more certainty following a year of the opposite.
Tel: 01539 721375 / 07971 550353