Sponsored: Land agents need to take the lead

Increasing pressure on agriculture is accelerating the need for skilled advisers
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Agricultural consultants and land agents play a crucial role in the functioning of the rural economy - whether that is providing management services to landlords, advising on the latest regulations or applying for funding on behalf of landowners and farmers.

The advisory profession is not without its challenges, though. With direct support for farming clients decreasing and input prices increasing - every pound spent on advisory services needs to provide tangible value. The services offered even two or three years ago will not be enough to meet the demands of the modern landowner or farmer - a shift is required in the advisory profession to lead the way for clients.

Every farm is unique, and each is affected by macro-scale changes, whether that's variations in the weather, changes in subsidy regimes, or fluctuations in commodity prices. With a period of significant change on the horizon for UK farming, it is more important than ever that decisions are made based on the most accurate information possible, and advice is tailored based on real insights.

Without access to real-time data, this is unachievable. Decisions are based on outdated information or solely on intuition, which makes tailoring advice based on real insight nigh on impossible. For the farm adviser that is tricky, especially in situations where you may be working with a new client without the benefit of experience on that particular farm.

Farmers need to be able to accurately financially forecast their future. There are many variables and moving parts, and it can be tricky to work out the way forward, particularly as many aspects are out of the farmer's control. Advisers need to be able to assist clients through these changes.

Figured is the leading farm financial management software that works hand in hand with cloud accounting software, Xero. Figured enables farm advisers, land agents and consultants to advise their clients in new ways. Advisers are now able to access real-time financial and production insights, on demand and at any time. Whole farm, enterprise and field-level reporting is now achievable for every farm in the UK, as well as accurate financial forecasting and scenario planning. The combination of being able to access historical performance, as well as forecast profitability in the short term - right up to 10 years in the future is a game-changer for farmers and their advisors.

The risk of maintaining the advisory status quo is too high. The time is ticking for reductions in direct subsidies, and the markets in which farms operate become more volatile by the day.