Preparing for the Future

18th March 2019

Well-attended evening seminars bring farmers together to discuss and debate current and topical farming issues and opportunities.


During the last week, over 150 farmers from across Cumbria have attended seminars designed specifically to help rural businesses plan for the inevitable future changes to Agriculture, in the wake of current developments.


The Kendal office of H&H Land and Property incorporating Michael CL Hodgson, H&H Insurance Brokers and H&H Farm Finance in association with Mulberry Finance, came together with Kirkby Stephen and Broughton auction marts to host these events, which included presentations on current grant funding and business initiatives, asset finance and farm insurance matters. At both events there was a serious interest, and each produced a high level of engagement from all involved.


Colin Tomlinson, Managing Director of H&H Land and Property, opened with an introduction to the profile of the land agency team explaining that the business covers the breadth of Cumbria, North Lancashire, Durham and in to the Scottish Borders. The Rural Surveying and land agency team is well equipped to assist with a broad range of rural matters including property management, valuations, sales, AMC loan applications, grant scheme and environmental matters along with acting on client’s behalf in regard to compulsory purchase acquisitions and compensation claims.


Mark Barrow, Associate and Chartered Surveyor of H&H Land and Property, went on to discuss the current state of grant funding, how to access this, and make the most from it:


“With the current Basic Payment System likely to decrease steadily over the next few years, and replacement schemes coming online, it was clear farmers wanted to know more about the opportunities available to them as we move forward. They were also keen to ensure their businesses were properly prepared, ready to grasp opportunities and meet the relevant grant application criteria.”

“Prudent farmers should immediately look to any new grant schemes and additional income sources. These can often improve the overall infrastructure of the farm holding as well as the environmental impact. For example, if you have a silage pit or midden which could be roofed over, or an area of old concrete yard which could do with renewing or replacing, you may find that there is a grant to support this.

One particular area of interest from those attending was the Forestry Creation Grant. This is a grant which covers the woodland establishment costs, and a ten year maintenance payment which is in addition to the current Basic Payment Scheme providing the land was claimed in 2008.”


Another important element of the evening was an update from H&H Insurance Brokers, who gave advice on issues that farmers need to consider when reviewing their insurance policies and the implication of under insurance and health and safety.


Some grants require upfront payments which, in some instances, result in the opportunity being beyond reach. So, newly launched H&H Farm Finance discussed how this could be overcome through third party funding amongst the other products they are able to offer.


Mark adds: “Farmers were very receptive, they are appreciating that these are changing times. Many have adapted over time and are aware that this has to continue.”


“The main message throughout was to keep your ear to the ground, your eyes open, and ensure that you produce robust applications for schemes. Many of the current schemes are competitive, so we reiterated that to profit from the changing times ahead, they must maximise the potential from their farms, and use every opportunity to streamline their business”, concluded Mark.


H&H Land and Property is one of the largest firms of independent rural property advisors in the North of the UK. With offices in Kendal, Carlisle, Durham, and St Boswells, H&H Land and Property offer a vast range of professional advice and services including Farm Business Advice, Land Management and Development and Land Agency.


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