No-deal could be ‘good news’
A no-deal Brexit could prove to be good news for many Scottish farmers, according to a leading rural adviser.
Contrary to widespread warnings of the devastating damage that could be inflicted on agriculture by a nodeal Brexit, SAC consultant Julian Bell said the weakening of sterling because of Brexit uncertainty had added £20 a tonne to grain prices – a boost that could be wiped out at a stroke if a deal is reached and the pound bounces back.
“The prediction comes with 101 caveats but, short-term, many sectors could do really well and for quite a few farmers – cereals growers in particular – a no-deal Brexit could be good,” he said.
He said the sheep sector would suffer, but ways were being investigated to mitigate this.
He said: “The issue with sheep is timing because we produce the right amount of sheep meat but not all at the right time of year, which means we have to import fresh New Zealand lamb, but already there are initiatives to have later and more consistent lamb available.”
He advised farmers to improve their resilience by moving loans from short to long-term, delaying investments, and diversifying income.
“For quite a few farmers a no-deal Brexit could be good”