Farm Expo Event 2020
An Acres Insurance Brokers Day Out- Trade stands, seminars, debates, and networking opportunities at Farm Expo in Kent
New kids on the block in the world of agricultural shows, Farm Expo, held their second annual event on Wednesday 4th March. Organised by the Kent County Agricultural Society, Farm Expo burst onto the scene in March 2019, claiming to ‘look towards the future of farms, farming and rural enterprises’. At a time of great uncertainty in the farming sector, being just three weeks before we were supposed to be leaving the EU, and with the lure of free entry and parking, the inaugural show was a great success. The organisers proudly stated that they had 2500 visitors and standing room only in their main seminars.
It was no surprise when they announced back in September that Farm Expo would be returning in 2020, so we obviously had to go and see for ourselves.
Farm Expo 2020
Farm Expo 2020 found itself to be in a similar situation to Farm Expo 2019, discussing the industry at a time of uncertainty following comments about the future of farming in Britain’s trade deals being splashed all over the press, confirmation of a reduction in BPS pay-outs imminent and plans to scrap the lower rate of fuel duty on red diesel recently announced.
It’s no wonder that the two main seminars held throughout the day were packed. ‘Farming- The Next 10 Years,’ with Phil Jarvis, Rob Yorke and Mario Caccamo, spoke about the impact of increasing climate change awareness, the industry’s aim to become Carbon Net Zero by 2040 and the need to provide innovative solutions, as well as how Brexit trade deals will impact the industry.
A number of our clients visiting us on the stands found the later seminar on diversification to be particularly relevant, fearing how the changes to the BPS payments will impact upon their business. CLA Rural Business and Economy Advisor Dr Charles Trotman, Lee May (from Brachers LLP) and Kristina Boulden (founder of Romney Marsh Wools) shared their experiences on diversification projects, gave planning and legal advice and gave guidance on how to tap into lucrative areas, such as luxury products and tourism.
At Acres Insurance Brokers, our advice would always be to check the insurance implications before starting any new diversification ventures.
The view from Acres Insurance Brokers’ stand
Lured in with the promise of hot drinks, sausage rolls and our agricultural insurance expertise, we had a busy and enjoyable day catching up with clients old and new. Obviously, the weather was a hot topic, but it was promising to hear that some were finally being able to get on the land to get some spraying and liquid fertilising done.
Many spoke about how the impact of the wet weather on the arable sector will be ongoing, even when the weather does turn for the better. We spoke to one seed merchant who said that he had never known farmers call him to change their seed orders with quite such regularity as they have over the past few months, as they adapt their plans and crop rotations in order to try to work around the weather.
At the other end of the supply chain, the grain merchants we spoke to said that they were expecting the value of spring barley to crash due to a glut, caused by farmers having to drill spring crops where they had planned to grow winter crops, and due to export tariffs potentially being applied after leaving the European Union. This could impact Kent in particular, as its location means that it is largely an export market.
It wasn’t all weather-related doom and gloom though, as the exhibitors used Farm Expo as an opportunity to show off their latest innovations. Most notably was the rather impressive addition to Horsch’s Leeb sprayers. The self-propelled Leeb PT boasts an 8000 litre spray tank and is the first of their self-propelled sprayers to have contour following booms, providing greater precision.
As always at such exhibitions, we are encouraged and amazed by the innovation in agriculture, both from the big brands and from the individual farmers and farming businesses. Our advice, whether investing in some new innovative kit or trying out a new diversification idea, is to give your Acres Insurance Broker a call to ensure you are adequately covered.
Farming, the next 10 years… who knows what it will look like, but we are sure that it will still be thriving!