05 March 1999
Start-up perils for new farmers

BRIAN MONTGOMERY, agricultural chief at the NatWest Bank, has warned that the prospect is bleak for new farmers.

Speaking at a Warwickshire conference on rural business, Mr Montgomery warned that new business ventures have a high casualty rate.

Some 20% of the 340,000 businesses that start up every year fall by the wayside, followed by another 20% within six years, he said.

But failure tends to result from disillusionment with long hours of work rather than financial pressure, Mr Montgomery added.

Age is a major factor influencing success, with start-ups by people in their 50s hitting a higher rate.

The banks last survey of farm diversification showed that agricultural contracting the top alternative enterprise, followed by tourism and horse livery activity.