James Herrick: Business future-proofing should begin today

Are you ready?

I’m sure by now we are all aware of the impending end to Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) funding. By 2027, it will have been phased out for good in what is widely considered the biggest agricultural policy shift in a generation.

It seems that barely a day goes by without someone asking whether your farming business is ready for the transition – yet how many of us can honestly answer that question with a yes? I know I can’t.

About the author

James Herrick
James Herrick is based on his family’s suckler beef and arable farm in Leicestershire. A passionate conservationist, he’s keen on using technology to maximise agriculture’s profitability and lessen its impact on the environment. Away from the farm he likes to compete in triathlons and endurance races.
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Despite being in the midst of manipulating, streamlining and remoulding our farming enterprise to make it more profitable and “future-proof”, it has become apparent that, as with any change in farming, it takes time.

See also: James Herrick: Don’t be embarrassed to take time off

This is why I believe it’s imperative to review and implement those changes as soon as possible, but where to start?

How about a business review, or even better a free consultant-led business review? Now that’s pricked your ears up, hasn’t it?

The AHDB (one of the farmer’s most underutilised assets) is offering a free farm business review service funded by the Defra Future Farming Resilience Fund.

The idea is that you are linked with a consultant who visits you on-farm and works with you to assess the impact the loss of BPS payments will have on your business, offer tailored advice on how you can mitigate them, and talk through any plans you may have for the future.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. All you need in order to qualify for the advice is to have a farming business in the UK that currently receives BPS payments. That’s it.

It only takes a few taps on a keyboard to find the registration page, then you fill in your details and spend half a day or so of your time with the consultant. It really is that easy.

I know I’m not the only farmer who is filled with dread at the thought of one day having an unviable enterprise, so why not take the relevant steps now to help ensure your business stands the test of time?

So I ask you again, are you ready?