Dorset AGM 2024 Chairman's Report

Dorset Branch Chairman Paul Tory delivers his Chairman's Report ahead of the 2024 AGM

By the time you read this I hope that the weather is improving and the land drying out, without it going to the other extreme.

Running rural businesses, whatever area you may be in is ramping up again in the challenges that it brings. Whether it’s the weather, the political climate, the commodity markets or the subsidy schemes, trying to keep your head above water and paddling in the right direction (assuming you know where you’re going) has rarely been more challenging than at present.

My philosophy at times like this has always been to go back to basics. What have you got and what do you want to do with it. What makes you tick and what are your priorities. Are there enough areas of your business that mean you can take risks in some areas while knowing you are well backed up in others. What does your land/property best lend itself to and how can you best utilise that. Can you do it on your own or do you need help and potentially most importantly, what happens after you.

Only then can you really get into the ever-changing detail of what Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) options or tax planning might need to be done to help you fund and achieve it.

What has struck me most about the current lie of the land is how much we are realising the decisions we take now are impacting the next generation in terms of the environment, income, ownership, tax and time requirements.

It's reassuring to know that the CLA is there fighting our corner on the issues of the day. It’s an honour to be your county chairman which is allowing me to see under the bonnet of the organisation and the fast reacting and relentless progress that is being made on your behalf on so many fronts.

I am very grateful to my predecessor Sophie Alexander, as well as the current county committee, for helping keep Dorset’s input into what the CLA does locally, regionally and nationally both meaningful and well informed.

Anyone wanting to join the committee would be warmly welcome and we are all very grateful to South West Director Ann Maidment and her able team for all they do for the county and the wider South West area.

Paul Tory, Dorset Branch Chairman