Although 2019 is now a distant memory, its legacy will remain with us for some time. My over-riding memories of the year (neither of which are good) are political shenanigans and horrific weather. The latter of these has and will continue to have an obvious and massive influence on UK agriculture. Albeit the impact of this natural phenomenon seems to be ever increasing and more regularly occurring. The former (ie our blessed politicians) seems to have at last managed to move forward on the key issue of Brexit, however, the decisions they make and policies they adopt over the forthcoming twelve months will be critical to the shape and prosperity of our industry.
Looking forward to 2020 – it is all to play for. I firmly believe that we should not be afraid of change and the evolution of agriculture. Change equals opportunity. There are so many exciting projects and developments just around the corner that could shape our next 20-30 years. Whilst fundamentally food is too cheap and too available to the masses, it will never be valued to the extent that we expect. This requires a “subsidy bridge”, which is still vital to our survival. The way subsidy is paid must change. Being paid at the same rate for either doing well, doing badly or doing nothing has been very suppressive to innovation and productivity gain. Providing the future support changes recognise the ultimate need for subsidy and provide it to those who are progressive, innovative and technically good – then UK agriculture has a great future.
Philip Dunn – Partner – Head of Agri-Business Consultancy