An action plan to help farmers prepare for risks to their businesses was agreed by major banks, farming charities and farming representatives at a summit convened by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson last week.
The first farming resilience summit was held earlier this year following the bad weather that placed particular financial pressures on many of Britain’s farmers.
The experts in banking, farming, insurance and business convened again last week to agree new action to improve farmers’ resilience in the face of future challenges.
Representatives from organisations including HSBC, the National Farmers’ Union and the Prince’s Countryside Fund will work with government to deliver the following ten-point plan:
- identify which farmers may be most at risk, and understand the causes of cash flow difficulties
- maintain regular insight into at-risk farmers over the long term
- support the recommendation in the Future of Farming Review for an industry event to develop practical advice that can help farmers retire from or exit the industry
- consider the longer term shape and options for CAP payments, post 2020, to support greater resilience
- explore insurance schemes and other emergency funding mechanisms
- encourage collaboration between farmers to help manage risk
- develop local advice groups for farmers to share information and help each other strengthen their businesses
- develop and advocate ‘5 tools of resilience’, setting out the minimum practices expected for a resilient agricultural business
- develop tailored weather warnings and information for farmers
- meet again at a third summit to report back on progress and confirm next steps
Farming resilience working groups will continue to be held over the summer as the coalition of farmers, banks, charities and government refines and starts to implement the recommendations. A further summit will be held in November.
Representatives from the following organisations joined the Environment Secretary in the farming resilience summit:
- National Farmers’ Union
- The Prince’s Countryside Fund
- Country Land and Business Association
- Tenant Farmers Association
- Addington Fund
- The Farming Community Network
- Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
- NFU Mutual
- Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
- The British Banking Association
- Animal Health and Welfare Board
- Met Office
- David Fursdon, Chairman Future of Farming Review