By: 31 August 2017
Wilkin Chapman urges farmers to plan for future following release of poll results

Wilkin Chapman has urged farmers to plan for their futures and develop an appetite for change if they wish to protect and grow their industry.

The agricultural law specialist firm has made the warning after it conducted a poll of more than 200 farmers, which found that 41% see agricultural policy as their main priority. Another 26% said succession was their most pressing concern, while 20% identified farm diversification as their first cause for worry. The final 13% cited environmental and disease as their most important issue.

Partner and Head of Agriculture at Wilkin Chapman, Catherine Harris said: “This year there are many issues of real importance within the farming community. It is so important for our firm to fully understand the future challenges and opportunities for our clients.

“One of the overriding discussions I have had with many farmers and landowners during the recent show season has been about future proofing their business. Our poll results clearly echo those discussions,” she added.

“It is important for families to plan now to protect their businesses and grow the next generation of farmers and our expert agricultural law team are working with clients to do just that.”

The need for farmers and landowners to plan for the future was also highlighted by HSBC.

Reflecting on the results of the poll, Neil Wilson, head of agriculture for UK Corporate & Business Banking at HSBC, said that those planning to hand a business to the next generation must plan properly for the future.

“As well as a discussion about how the assets of the business may be passed on it is also vital to discuss the financial standing now and the likely position going forward so that those inheriting the business are aware of what they are taking on,” he said.

“Communication at an early stage with all family members involved is crucial. This is normally where the process falls down and as Mum and Dad may have ‘sorted it out’ but no-one actually knows what the plan is. Challenges can also arise around how those non-farming family members are to be treated. Again, this falls back to communication.”