New generation of innovative farmers needed to help sector cope with Brexit, says CAAV
- Credit: Su Anderson
Younger farmers must be brought up through the ranks to enable the UK’s farming sector to succeed after Brexit, a professional body says.
The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) said a new generation of highly trained farmers will be needed to enable the industry to adapt.
High performing businesses will be best placed to manage the change and farmers needed to make efficient use of their skills, resources, and technological advances to maximise productivity, said CAAV secretary and adviser Jeremy Moody.
“The overall drive needs to be toward greater innovation through a combination of business strategy, good information management, investment and adopting new technologies as they become available,” he said. “There’s little doubt that Brexit will produce a more challenging environment for farming, but it will also create a more commercial one too. Though Brexit is not something that will happen overnight and is likely to feature a range of transitional periods, farming businesses should act now while there is time to control it.”
Likely changes to trade and tariffs, along with a reorientation of farm support, meant businesses needed to start planning for more competitive times, the CAAV warned.
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“Those changes are outside farmers’ control and they need to look at how they can best prepare their businesses,” said Mr Moody. “Farming’s challenge is to improve productivity while embracing more environmentally focused practices and the highest animal welfare standards.”
Education and knowledge exchange were key ways to tackle the challenges posed by Brexit, as those producers who are using the latest practices, techniques and innovations will be the ones who successfully take their farms into the future, he said.
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“We appear to be on the edge of a major technological revolution; farm businesses need to take advantage of this to remain competitive,” he said.
“An Indecon study has shown that where land moves to a formally trained farmer there is an average 12% gain in yield, three times more than from generational change.”
Farmers are likely to be expected to increase carbon storage, manage inputs more efficiently, use precision farming and improve soils, he added.