9 November 2001

2002 will not be any worse

MORE than two-thirds of farmers believe 2002 is unlikely to be worse than this year, according to accountants Grant Thornton.

A company survey of 2600 farmers during July found that one-third of them expect their businesses to expand next year, while 36% believe farming will remain stable. Almost 60% of respondents to the survey said that diversification schemes were the preferred method of expanding their businesses.

Grant Thornton agricultural specialist Jeremy Lewis said: "UK farmers portray remarkable resilience and it is immensely encouraging to see there are those who see opportunity ahead."

But any new venture requires careful consideration before leaping in, Mr Lewis added. "We know that 44% of farmers do not have a business plan and lack of management time is one of the biggest barriers," he said. &#42