Property & Business - Winter 2020

Ploughing On… . 2020 harvest has reminded us that, even before Covid-19, this was never going to be a ‘normal’ farming year - even if this time last year we actually didn’t even realise how bad it was going to get! But despite all that 2019/2020 threw at us, for our clients and for JHWalter working on from home, we have carried on even though life after 2020 will never quite be the same again. The reduction in the Basic Payment Scheme payments is the beginning of the end of a base rental value for all land regardless of quality, and for some farmers, the beginning of the end of their ‘profitability’. For those farmers who would be tenants, some are looking instead to farm through a cropping licence or as a contractor - as they do not want to increase their BPS area and suffer the larger percentage reductions. Add to this the unknown of the post Brexit trade situation and some tenants are planning their exit. For some, it is only the possible hope of a ‘golden handshake’ by a lump sum payment for BPS entitlements that is keeping them farming. This future uncer tainty has also influenced other tenants’ decisions in 2020, par ticularly whether to enter into longer (more than 3 year) FBTs without break clauses or, at least, without a rent which reflects the reducing BPS, perhaps even directly linked to the payment. That all being said, we continue to work with amazingly innovative and energetic farmers who will continue to the fight for British Agriculture and believe, to quote Captain Sir Tom Moore, “tomorrow will be a good day”. For 2021, it’s all change - in a world we cannot control, adaptability and innovation is key. The rural team at JHWalter cannot say we have seen it all... but since 1790 we have advised our clients through epidemics and world crisis - and we continue to plough on! For landlord and tenant advice contact Ellie Allwood 01522 504 320 or 07919 694 227 13 PROPERTY | BUSINESS | PLANNING | ENERGY