Sunday, May 31, 2020

Prepare now for end of direct payments

February 28, 2020 by  
Filed under News & Business

Growers and livestock producers should start preparing now for the end of direct payments, says a Shropshire farm business consultant.

Agriculture faces its biggest shake up in a generation, says Jon Birchall, who advises local farm businesses through his company Jon Birchall Ltd. Direct payments – including the Basic Payment Scheme – have propped up a lot of inherently unprofitable production, he says.

New scheme

The government plans to phase out direct payments over seven years starting in 2021. They will be replaced by a new scheme largely based on rewarding farmers who undertake environmental measures – such as improving soil and water quality.

Profits on many farms are being hit by rising costs and static commodity prices, adds Mr Birchall. “We know [direct payments] will be phased out, and any future support that does come from government, will be in the form of public money for public good.”

With more than 30 years in the industry, Mr Birchall specialises in the management of in-hand farms under contract farming agreements. Most of these agreements form the basis of estate tax planning strategies, particularly with regards to inheritance tax.

An agronomist and farm business consultant with in-depth knowledge of farming enterprises, diversification and management of varied land types, Mr Birchall says he can help clients find cost-effective solutions to streamline their businesses.

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