This is my son inspecting the aftermath of this year’s harvest with my father in law.
My son absolutely adores spending time on the farm with his grandparents and his cousins but increasingly the children of farming families often face a very difficult decision. The family farm is almost always more than just a home; it is a business, a source of income for the family and, in many cases, something of real pride that has passed through generations.
However, undoubtedly, the farming way of life can be extremely hard work. On top of the physicality and constant reliance upon weather conditions, farmers are faced with many different challenges. Squeezed on price by competitors, both larger UK based organisations and from abroad, farmers are also now having to get to grips with a constantly changing political and economic climate which is still very uncertain at the moment, and that is all before one takes into consideration the impact of a global pandemic. Unsurprisingly, many farmers are looking to diversify from traditional farming practices but that can bring its own challenges. Others are still waiting to see what the landscape will look like in the new era of ELMs.
It is therefore unsurprising that younger generations have some doubts as to whether to follow in the family tradition and take on the responsibility of running the family farm. Whilst their hearts may say yes, their heads might cause them to look for an alternative way of living which might provide more certainty. In itself that is a real shame. It also creates real difficulties for the older generations involved in farming who are looking to pass on assets and in some cases the farm itself.
As Head of the Farming and Rural Land Sector here at Goughs, these are the sorts of discussions that my colleagues and I have with our clients on a regular basis. It is for that reason that we decided to create a dedicated team of lawyers, many of whom have a personal interest in the farming world, to provide our clients with a tailored, multi-disciplined approach to their legal needs. We work with other like-minded professionals to ensure that our clients have all the information they need to make these difficult decisions and then help them put them into practice. Undoubtedly, having some knowledge of the difficulties that the farming community face allows us to focus on what really matters for our clients.