Seize CAP opportunities to diversify

FARMERS PLAN to take about 10% of their land out of production following CAP reform and invest the single farm payment in new ventures, according to a report launched at Cereals 2004.

But those who decide to stay in agriculture must improve their financial management and recording to ensure a profitable future, it says.

The Cost of CAP Reform survey, conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and accountant Deloitte, found that many farmers were looking to restructure their businesses, with half already having done so.

But few were being aggressive enough in their thinking, said Deloitte partner Richard Crane.

“People should make the best of CAP reform – it is a really good excuse to start with a clean sheet.”

The survey brought together the views of farmers representing more than 70,000ha from across the country.

“Our message is that all producers need to do their sums to assess the impact of taking the SFP and not actively farming themselves – if only to satisfy themselves that they are taking the right decisions,” said Mr Crane.

Those planning to remain in farming should ensure that they would be profitable with wheat prices at £60-70/t, and use contracting agreements to expand aggressively, he said.

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