The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
It’ s survival of fittest for farms in post-Brexit era
Seminar: Warning that traditional Scottish units will have to be more efficient
Traditional Scottish farm businesses may not be sustainable in the long term.
That was the stark message delivered to farmers, estate owners and advisers at a rural seminar in Inverurie.
Speakers at the event, organised by land agency Bidwells, accountancy firm Campbell Dallas and HSBC, warned that traditional farm set-ups would struggle to survive in a post-Brexit era unless they transform to become more efficient or look at ways of diversifying.
Ian Williams, of Bidwells in Aberdeen, said: “It is clear that there is a huge amount of change affecting all businesses and the responses to that will determine which businesses flourish in the future and which fail.”
Campbell Dallas partner Ian Williams said farmers should team up with their neighbours and form supply groups to sell produce to supermarket chains such as Aldi.
He recalled the retailer’s a visit to Scottish headquarters and said: “They (Aldi) want Scottish producers and they want everyone to have a story to tell. They have plans in place for new products and they are actively looking to displace imported products with those produced in Scotland.”
As a starting point for looking at this, or any other new venture, Mr Williams recommended writing a full plan with goals for everyone in the business to understand.
HSBC agriculture director John Robertson backed this plea and said it would be vital when seeking fund- ing for new ventures. He said that although there were likely to be challenges ahead, the bank was not worried because the farming sector was resilient.
Mr Robertson added: “Farmers have coped with everything that’s been thrown at them over the year. They have a great commodity in food and whatever happens, they will survive.”