Farmers weathering the storm


Like the weather, politics are outside the control of farmers, so how can farmers hedge their bets in the current climate?

Having been a farmer, I feel comfortable admitting that we’re renowned for moaning about the weather (always), prices (often) and regulation (every time a form needs completing)!

The weather app on a farmers’ phone is used daily and hourly.  It has been a frustrating early August with rain hampering the harvest but since the hotter, dry weather has come in the combine harvesters are out in full force.  In fairness the weather has generally been kind to farmers and growers so far this year.  It has been a tremendous grass growing season and as a result we will produce more milk this year than any other in the last 30 years.  For a variety of factors, including the weather, our wheat crop is estimated to be 1 million tonnes higher than 2018.

In some places the weather has not been so kind and we should spare a thought for the farmers in the Yorkshire Dales; one man lost hundreds of bales of fodder and had 200 North Country Mule Gimmer lambs washed away.

We can’t control the weather or the actions of our legislators, but we can mitigate some of the circumstances.

For example, have you noticed how quickly the harvest has progressed since the onset of the better weather?  Investment in machinery and infrastructure reduces the risk to a farming business.  Greater combine capacity means a quicker harvest, increasing storage capacity reduces the risks of selling on a buyer’s market.  Better drying and cleaning facilities can increase sale values.

And when it comes to the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, an increasing number of Farmers are hedging their bets through diversification.

At FOLK2FOLK we understand farming and allow you to use your existing assets to grow, develop or diversify your business. Why not talk to us about your funding options.

Ian Bell is FOLK2FOLK’s Head of Farming & Rural Engagement
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