When I think of transition it is often within the context of moving from one place to another, writes Andrew Samuel of Samuel & Son.
Watching Top Gear on Sunday, while Freddie Flintoff was in his dad’s Ford Cortina, Paddy McGuinness in his dad’s Ford Fiesta and Chris Harris in his dad’s rather swanky BMW 323i, I was taken straight back to my parents Austin Maxi 1750 (a quite dreadful machine), as we set off in the middle of the night to Ivybridge in Devon on the family holiday spent helping on a small dairy farm during hay making season.
With no sat nav or mobile phone, and nothing more than the occasional garage and Little Chef to rely on, every nook and cranny of that car was stuffed to the gunwales with considered essentials to ensure we made it down to Devon and back again, whilst (harmoniously…) living all together in a large family room in the farmhouse, temporarily vacated by the farmer’s son who slept in the airing cupboard during our stay.
Planning for the trip was meticulous, made well ahead of the event, and involved the writing and re writing of long lists as the weather forecast changed and mum added places and attractions she had read about or been told of and wanted to visit.
Without realising it I had been given an early introduction to the art of creating and delivering a cognitive strategy to enable a smooth and enjoyable transition, with almost every eventuality, gleaned from both good and bad experiences of the past, catered for in one way or another.
With inevitable changes on the horizon following Brexit and Covid-19, do you and your business have a similarly robust and flexible strategy to get you through to 2027 and beyond and if not then why not?
The end of the Basic Payment Scheme, which has propped up rents and profit margins for some time now, will without doubt prove to be a reality check for many. Some will have prepared budgets without this income and will be banking on New Environmental Land Management schemes to plug the hole, but for some it might not be quite that simple and be more of a worry.
More efficient precision farming, involving the deployment of cutting edge or emerging technologies, could be the answer. Especially if businesses are suitably liquid and looking to take advantage of both generous tax incentives and attractive research and development grants.
For others, enhanced diversification might be the way forward, by either adding value to core products, via the likes of direct marketing, or looking at peripheral assets that might have been ignored or overlooked in the past. Carbon and environmental offset opportunities, whether utilised in hand or sold to assist others, could be one relatively simple option, but only when a suitable calculator and trading platform is established.
As we continue in this transition it is a nagging conundrum for sure, however, as expressed in my article in February, I am certain that opportunities are out there, but only for those who are brave and can boldly identify and deploy resources to harness the same. Sitting on your hands and waiting for change until you make your move is potentially dangerous so, like my dad, sit quietly, consider where you are heading, and what you are hoping to do when you get there and make a list of what you might need along the way, being fairly confident that at some stage during the transition the environment, situations and circumstances you find yourself in are likely to have changed.
When looking at my own business and advising others on theirs, this holistic approach tends initially to ask more questions than give answers but it is a healthy and thought-provoking process ahead of making concrete decisions and implementing them.
Sometimes, if your preferred/seemingly best direction of travel involves dramatic change, it is natural to be cautious and seek reassurance and a second opinion. Taken from a disassociated third party this can be advantageous and, while at times expensive, can be an invaluable deployment of resources in the short term.
Indeed, sometimes asking for collective professional advice might well prove to be the most advantageous. A socially distanced meeting in a Sussex Barn with clients, a well known specialist accountant and lawyer discussing transitionary change following the sale of a lucrative asset was a highlight of works in recent weeks.
Put succinctly, I really do not want any of you reading this article to get caught short as I did halfway across Dartmoor and my dad whipping out the Portaloo ahead of the Polaroid, only to recount the story and the image at my 21st birthday some years later! I hope this has at the very least stimulated some immediate, long term and lateral, thinking and that some of the articles to follow save you similar embarrassment as you plan your own onward journey and transition.
INSIDE THIS FEATURE
The end of BPS – A reality check?
The reductions in BPS are deeper and more progressive than originally anticipated.
Hobbs Parker Property Consultants LLP
The debate is no longer about how farming might need to adapt in the future but how it needs to change now.
Unlocking the Potential of Data and Agri-Tech
If we can tackle the challenges to unlock the potential of data and technology, then the future of fruit farming is a bright one.
What drives your business?
Does your business have soul? Will the changes that are coming towards us in business mean that your operation will have more soul in five years?
Nigel Akehurst visits Knepp Estate in West Sussex to find out more about a pioneering rewilding project and new plans to start a companion regenerative farm.
How farmers can benefit from the dog ownership boom
The importance for dogs to have a large area of private, safe open space to explore and run free is crucial to healthy development.
Bruce’s Doggy Day Care