Agriculture update for UK farmers – September 2015

Sep 30, 2015
Author: Dan Wood
Dan acts as a commercial partner for a wide range of clients. Dan specialises in advising businesses in the agriculture sector.
Agriculture updates

Welcome to our first agriculture update for UK farmers, a new monthly edition on the Hawsons website.

Please do register for our agriculture newsletter if you would like to receive the agriculture update each month, along with our quarterly agriculture newsletter and topical sector developments.

Grants available in certain agricultural projects

Grants of between £5k and £150k are on offer to help groups of farmers, researchers and businesses research practical ways to boost productivity. Grants are available for projects up to 3 years in livestock, horticulture or forestry sectors.

DEEC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) has removed the option for Feed in Tariffs (Fits) claimants to lock into a level of support before a project is completed. Fits pre-accreditation is being scrapped from 1 October 2015. Previously, pre-accreditation rules allowed solar and wind projects above 50kw and all hydro and anaerobic digestion projects to lock into a level of support once planning permission and a grid connection had been agreed.

Consultation over the future of farmers’ averaging

Farm leaders call for flexibility in 5 year averaging rules from HMRC, following the announcement of new farmers’ averaging rules earlier this year. When the announcement was made we said that prior to the new rules coming into effect from April 2016 the Government will hold a consultation later in 2015 to clarify details.

That consultation on farmers’ averaging has started and the government consultation has proposed 2 options.

  1. Extending the existing 2 year farmers’ averaging scheme to a rolling 5 year basis with a volatility test to assess eligibility.
  2. An optional scheme where farmers could irrevocably opt-in for a fixed 5 year period, irrespective of volatility.

The NFU have said that there may be a case for the 2 year averaging period being retained as an additional option. The CLA points out that the volatility within the agricultural sector could be experienced over shorter periods than 5 years so there should be an option to choose averaging over a shorter period.

Other agriculture news…

  • Grain price movements are likely to be limited in the medium term due to harvest results and export competition say traders. Online grade training platform Graindex launched.
  • Recent drier conditions provided some relief for many arable farmers coping with a badly delayed harvest. Yields remain good but quality is still a concern.
  • Micro-breweries are providing a rapidly growing market for some specialist malting barley.
  • Potato prices dropped sharply in the week to 4 September 2015 with the average price falling £13.87T to £152.40T ex farm.

More from our agriculture experts

You can find all of our latest agriculture sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Martin Wilmott is a partner at Hawsons

Martin Wilmott acts as lead engagement partner for a wide range of corporate and non-corporate clients in the Doncaster office, especially in the Legal and professional, agricultural, transport, property and construction, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality sectors. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article please contact Martin on or 01302 367 262.