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During 2015, Thomas Westcott has strengthened the services it can offer to the farming community with the introduction of Sally Nicholls, who has joined the firm as an agricultural consultant.  Sally has a vast range of experience, working within the agricultural community across Devon. 

Sally’s thoughts on 2015 are:

“2015 has been an eventful year so far, whilst we were all preparing for the new Basic Payment Scheme and getting to grips with new rules, greening requirements and the very slow online system, the RPA were full of reassurance that as the weeks went on increased functionality would be available.  Then out of the blue, the plug was pulled on the online system and we were back to the good old days of paper based applications.  With all the delays, and agents panicking about how they were going to get all of their applications submitted before 15th May, the EU and the RPA threw us a lifeline and extended the deadline to the 15th June.

 

Whilst we as agents were breathing a sigh of relief that we had been given more time, the question now has to be asked when will farmers receive their BPS money?  The RPA have a seven month window in which to make BPS payments (1st December to 30th June) and whilst historically many have received their payments at the beginning of December, this could now be delayed by several months, causing a massive strain on cashflow.  As a result, RBS and NatWest have already announced that they will make fee free bridging loans available to existing customers to be repaid when BPS money is received.

BPS will not be the only impact on cashflow this year.  11,500 Environmental Stewardship schemes will end in 2015, whilst those with schemes that end this year will be invited to apply for the new Countryside Stewardship scheme; only 4,500 agreements are available, meaning 7,000 landowners will lose out.  With all this and falling commodity prices, it is imperative that farmers keep a close eye on cost control and cashflow and contact their banks as soon as they identify a need for additional borrowings”.

Sally like the rest of the staff at Thomas Westcott are here to help and assist businesses with any of the issues mentioned above, or a wide variety of others covering the spectrum from accounts to farm planning.  Please feel free to contact us on 01237 472725 or bideford@thomaswestcott.co.uk if you would like to discuss with us, what we could do to help your business address the many difficulties currently being faced by the farming community.