Farmers have plenty to contemplate this year

A raft of issues are coming together which will make 2014 an interesting and challenging year for the farming community across Yorkshire, an agricultural law expert has said.

Andrew Fearn, head of agriculture and a partner at York-based Langleys Solicitors, said one of the topics featuring at the top of the farming agenda in the coming months will be reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

He said: 

“While the EU’s policy is known, everyone in agriculture is awaiting the details of the UK’s implementation proposals.

“Whatever they are, they are likely to have a visible effect on practical farming – for example, headlands which have been preserved under stewardship schemes may disappear and we could see changing patterns of cultivation.”

Mr Fearn anticipates that during 2014 a national “Food v Fuel” debate will ignite as the popularity in anaerobic digestion (AD) grows apace.

He added:

“More and more AD plants are being proposed and gaining consents.

“The issue here is the amount of maize that will have to be grown to feed the AD plants

“It follows that for every acre of maize grown, an acre of traditional crops will not – and these acres of maize could transform the landscape of the countryside considerably.”

“Family succession issues will also continue to be at the fore this year

The presence of a son or daughter to succeed to the farm used to be a given but this is no longer the case.

“The new generation are choosing alternative, and often more lucrative, careers and so we will see older farmers staying on for longer simply because there is no obvious route out.”

Andrew Fearn

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