The future of farming has been put in the spotlight at a conference organised by Anglia Rural Consultants (ARC) in Newmarket and chaired by CLA Suffolk Chairman Ben Crossman.
Around 50 farmers and landowners turned out for the Farming: Facing Future Challenges event that included a keynote presentation from Jamie Gwatkin, Farmers Weekly Farm Adviser of the Year 2016.
Jamie discussed the challenges caused by the uncertainty of Brexit and what the key ingredients are for farm businesses to succeed in the future. He emphasised the importance for farmers to ‘stress test’ their business and consider elements such as alternative structures, potential new crop outlets and diversification projects.
Speaking at the event Jamie acknowledged the current political uncertainty provided challenges for the industry but believes a positive attitude is crucial.
“If you’ve got a mindset which is positive and is going to overcome the challenges then you will have a successful business going forward,” said Jamie.
“My vision [for farm businesses in the future] is a well-structured and balanced business with an element that is to do with the farm working well. Then alongside that, good commercial income from other assets, as well as looking at a long term plan that is going to build and grow the business moving forward,” he added.
Other speakers at the event included David Jones of Morley Agricultural Foundation, who shared his knowledge of commodities via a video presentation, and Neil Townsend, founder of Environomics, who considered ways that farmers can profit from the environment.
Jane Townsend, Principal of Easton and Otley College, spoke about the importance of a skilled industry workforce, and Oliver McEntyre, the National Agricultural Strategy Director for Barclays, discussed funding opportunities for farm enterprises.
ARC is a team of experienced, independent rural consultants who provide expert, practical advice to farming and agricultural businesses.