Cereals 2017 to focus on how farmers can ‘Brexit proof’ their businesses

AHDB board chair Sir Peter Kendall, former farming minister Sir Jim Paice and National Farmers' Unio

AHDB board chair Sir Peter Kendall, former farming minister Sir Jim Paice and National Farmers' Union president Meurig Raymond. - Credit: Archant

A major agricultural event is set to focus on helping farmers to “Brexit proof” their businesses as uncertainties about the future continue to dog the industry.

Organisers of Cereals 2017, a leading technical event for the arable industry, which takes place at Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire on June 14 and 15, said with Article 50 officially triggered, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent call for an election adding another level of uncertainty, ensuring farm businesses are as resilient and Brexit-proof as possible has never been as important.

While there were opportunities, there were also concerns over trade deals and questions over available chemical treatments, they said.

With that in mind, the event will feature a “Brexit-proof your Business” Knowledge Trail, flagging up the most relevant exhibitors and seminars to visit.

The Arable Conference – in association with De Lacy Executive - at this year’s event will play host to two Brexit themed debates. Starting proceedings on Wednesday, June 14, is a panel session on “Brexit, what does the future hold?”

Speakers are set to include National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond as well as representatives from the Agricultural Industries Confederation and Agricultural Engineers Association.

Wednesday will also see a practical session at the Arable Conference, looking at how evidence-based production could play a critical role as UK farming builds for a more sustainable future.

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Farm levy payers’ organisation AHDB will be hosting a series of debates to explore the threats and opportunities facing the arable sector.

Among these will be a “Are you ready for 2020?” discussion headed up by AHDB lead analyst Jack Watts. He will look at some key resilience-building steps that businesses can take ahead of the UK leaving the EU. The debate will feature alongside a ‘Brexit bucket list’ exhibit to raise awareness of key questions to be considered by farming businesses ahead of Brexit.

“Our number one tip is don’t put your head in the sand. Think now how Brexit might affect your business,” said Lloyds Bank’s Ben Makowiecki. “Particularly look at aspects like commodity prices, subsidy payments, labour and finance costs.”