Lincolnshire farmers told to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ in preparation for Brexit

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Lincolnshire’s farming community was told to take advantage of the range of opportunities available to them while Britain remains in the European Union at conferences staged by Brown & Co and Duncan & Toplis.

Audiences in Greetham and Woodhall Spa heard from a host of speakers who gave advice on what farmers could do in preparation for Brexit under the banner ‘Planning Ahead’.

Sir Peter Kendall, former NFU Chairman and current Chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board speaks to delegates at the latest Duncan & Toplis and Brown & Co Farm Business Update Update ‘Planning Ahead’

Keynote speaker Sir Peter Kendall, former NFU chairman and current chair of the agriculture and horticulture development board, said that while 2016’s upheaval in politics has been unprecedented, not much has actually changed and will not until 2020.

While he highlighted international trade, agricultural policy, migrant labour and regulations as causes for concern, he suggested farming remained integral in politicians’ minds.

Benjamin Bodart, co-founder of CRM AgriCommodities speaks at Duncan & Toplis and Brown & Co Farm Business Update ‘Planning Ahead’

Sir Peter said: “Agriculture is always the last thing to be decided upon as it is so important.

“In the meantime, there is what we could term as a honeymoon period and there are plenty of opportunities to be had before some guaranteed payments from the EU end in 2020.

“There’s time to take advantage and grow while the market remains open and free.”

Matt Herd, Chartered Tax Adviser at Duncan & Toplis speaks to the Farm Business Update delegates

Benjamin Bodart, co-founder of CRM AgriCommodities, gave the audience his analysis of the wheat market in the UK compared to the rest of the world.

The weak currency has meant a hike in prices since summer 2016.

Benjamin suggested there needs to be a major event such as drought or environmental shifts, for prices to remain high.

Matt Herd, a tax specialist from Duncan & Toplis, spoke on inheritance tax planning, highlighting new rules that come into effect concerning farmhouses and the nil rate band that applies to inheritance tax.

From April 2017, the main residence of a farm is considered on top of this band, which could have implications for those thinking about succession.