UK farmers lack succession plan

Almost half of UK farmers are putting the future of their business at risk by not having a succession plan in place before they retire, according to a recent study.

The research, carried out by Barclays, has also revealed that a quarter of farmers had not thought about a plan and 27% said they did not have anyone to leave their farm to, while 16% said they did not need a succession plan.

An added concern, highlighted by the research, is that 38% of farmers who do not have a succession plan in place do not involve their successors in the running of the farm, which will lose valuable time and money in the future.

Martin Redfeam, head of agriculture at Barclays, said: “Many farms have been in the same family for several generations. To ensure the transition from one generation to the next is done smoothly, careful planning is essential, rather than it being left to chance.
“Planning who will take on both the business responsibility and the assets of a farm can be a sensitive subject – and not necessarily something people want to address. However, without that vital plan, future years, if not decades, of hard work are being put at risk.”
The report also highlighted that failing to plan  for the future of a business was a risk not only to the owner, but also to the £85bn that agriculture contributes to the UK economy and the 3.5m people employed in the industry.

Meurig Raymond, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president, added: “The importance of succession planning and of having a live and formal plan in place cannot be underestimated. We would encourage all our members to think about how the next generation can be brought into the family business and develop with them a more formal plan for how succession and handover will work.”