The Changing Structure of British Agricultural Industry


Farmers in the UK are facing a myriad of obstacles in order to ensure that food production continues at the current rate and their business remain both competitive and more importantly profitable.

The current extreme weather conditions, labour skill shortages in some parts of the industry, and in others concerned about future labour resources, together with the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit have all combined to make farmers look around for other business opportunities.

The Basic Payment Scheme will undoubtedly be phased out over the next few years and although it will be replaced by alternative schemes these may not provide the same level of income support that the Single Farm Payment and Basic Payment Schemes have provided.

DEFRA has recently released the latest statistics on the total income from farming in the UK which confirm that levels have fallen by £72 million (18%) to £3.3 billion in 2018.

However, these figures do not show the true income produced by agricultural industry.

Branching out

Farmers have been diversifying  for a while  and the income which is produced from this diversification often shows as income produced by other rural industries rather than agriculture, therefore giving a misleading picture.

Diversification, whether that is selling an alternative product, producing an alternative product, or utilising existing resources for a different use appears to be increasing.

Many farmers are looking at diversifying into related businesses such as landscaping , where they can utilise the skills with the machinery which they have already been operating, or utilising their land for leisure activities such as Parkruns or Tough Mudders type events for example.

Equally many farmers have looked at the opportunities which have arisen to open farm shops or cafes, sometimes based round a leisure facility or caravan park.

As with any business it is important to have a strategy in place for diversification or other alternative income streams.  That that strategy must be supported by the business structure, whether that be as a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company.

How we can help

The Agriculture team at Butcher & Barlow works closely with the Commercial departments and by taking the time to understand your commercial objectives,  the teams aim to become an integral part of your professional support team.  Furthermore, our partner-led services ensure that you receive the quality of advice you would expect from a city firm but at a lower cost and from a convenient location.

Butcher & Barlow was established in 1887. Over the years, the Firm has evolved and grown but our longstanding reputation is a testament to the quality of service provided to our clients. With 10 offices across Cheshire and Lancashire, and with over 160 staff, Butcher & Barlow are big enough to cope with the requirements of all manner of clients across a broad range of services but of a size not to forget that the personal touch and attention to detail is what sets the Firm apart from others.

For a no obligation discussion call  01606 334309 and ask for Mike Bracegirdle.

an image of Mike Bracegirdle, a Butcher & Barlow LLP employee

Mike Bracegirdle