What is it like being an accountant in the agricultural sector right now?
The agricultural sector is renowned for trading ups and downs. In the last 12 months, except those businesses which have diversified into hospitality, farming hasn’t been as dramatically impacted by COVID-19 as many sectors. The main concern for farmers is more often than not, the weather and 2020 was no exception! The poor weather throughout late 2019 and early 2020 severely affected both forage and arable yields, many clients saw their 2020 arable crops drop by 50%. To support our clients with this, we helped with forecasting profits or losses, and where possible, reducing tax payments on account for 2021.
What does the future look like in the agricultural sector?
Farming is always challenging. One of the longer-term issues farmers and landowners are grappling with, is how they are going to replace the income lost by the phasing out of the basic payment scheme. With the first reduction due December 2021, the scheme will be phased out entirely by 2027, and could dramatically reduce profit unless alternative income streams can be found.
The good news is that 2022 will see the introduction of the new environmental land management scheme (ELMS). This will focus on sustainable farming incentives, local nature recovery and landscape recovery.
It is difficult to know exactly what impact ELMS will have, there are likely to be some winners and losers. We expect to see new diversification projects, and perhaps a change in working practices. The younger generation of farmers and landowners that we speak to are definitely seeing the opportunities ELMS could bring. There is a potential shift to some more traditional working practices, perhaps a reduction in fertilisers and sprays, and more consideration for the impact of farming on the land. It could be a really exciting time for farming and agriculture.
Tell us something that we might not know about you?
I used to have my own pet cow called Boris. I have no idea why I called her Boris, I bottle reared her from two days old after her mother rejected her. Everyone who came to the farm knew her and she would come running when I called her!
Why do you work in the agricultural sector?
Farming really is in my blood; I grew up on a farm in the Cotswolds where my dad is a farm manager. I knew from a young age I had a love for numbers and being able to combine that with my passion for all things farming is the perfect scenario.
I love the people in our team and this has become more evident in the last 12 months. Work is far more interesting when you are in the office, sharing ideas and discussing challenges with like-minded people. Working with our clients is also great; I’m not sure I would be an accountant if I didn’t work in the farming sector.
If you would like more information on BPS and ELMS or other business advice, please get in touch with Daniel Webb at email@example.com or call 01242 680000.