Business advice for farmers post-Brexit

Cutting pasture for Hay, Upper Nidderdale, North Yorkshire
Cutting pasture for Hay, Upper Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

Hill farmers in Nidderdale are being invited to an event that will help them deal with major changes and financial challenges post-Brexit.

Farming for the Future will offer free business and environmental advice around the economic challenges the sector faces when current income subsidy payments from the EU end in 2024.

Visitors will hear from Chris Clark, an Upper Wharfedale farmer and business management adviser, and Marian Wilby, farm conservation advisor at Nidderdale AONB.

Mr Clark has visited 26 farms in and around Nidderdale as part of research for The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF). He found only one is prepared for 2024, when farming subsidies will cease. He said: “Our findings show that farmers are not doing any rigorous business analysis on their profit margins. They should start planning now for when subsidies cease. There are big changes ahead, but there are opportunities to become more business resilient. We’re using best practice industry protocols to advise them to be Brexit ready.”

There are 800 farmers in Nidderdale. The average income of farmers without subsidies is £22,000; in Nidderdale this can be as low as £7,000-£8,000. Mr Clark has worked with the Rural Business Research Unit at Askham Bryan College to help hill farmers create robust business plans.

Along with Ms Wilby, he will be presenting findings from the first phase of the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) business farming analysis. A farmer who has already benefited from being involved in the project will also be on hand.

The event has been organised by Friends of Nidderdale AONB with support from the PCF. It will take place on Tuesday, June 26 at 6.30pm at Scaife Hall Farm, Blubberhouses. There will be a free supper for farmers and their families. To book a place, email marian.wilby@harrogate.gov.uk or call 01423 712950.