No one will pretend the outlook for any UK business isn’t daunting. But most farmers will feel they’ve ridden through the bad times before, and somehow struggled through. Farming has weathered storms before.
But it won’t be so easy to sit it out this time, which is why you cannot afford to ignore the range of information in this year’s Farm Finance supplement (see below).
Banks don’t have the easy cash to lend after the financial system slid into chaos this year. Cheap credit is history. Farm borrowings stand at an all-time high of £11.1bn and the stress on farm cash flows is going to get fierce as farmers are faced with higher input costs and dramatically different trading terms.
Every farm will need more working capital available to trade in 2009. That’s why it’s so important to agree overdrafts and contingency plans in advance. In this economic climate, it’s simply too risky to leave that call until it becomes too late.