'˜Farmers need firmer grasp of costs to survive in industry's new era'

Too many farmers still do not have an adequate grasp of their production costs to inform whether they can adapt to a new era for British agriculture, an industry spokesman has warned.

Paul Tompkins, York-based dairy farmer and vice-chairman of the national dairy board at the National Farmers Union, speaking at a round table event hosted by The Yorkshire Post. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Lending for farm investments that could help businesses act to mitigate the phasing out of direct support payments post-Brexit, depends on clear business plans, Brian Richardson, the head of agriculture for Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks said.

And that “throws a challenge back to farmers”, said farmer Paul Tompkins.

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Mr Tompkins, who is vice chairman of the National Farmers’ Union’s national dairy board, told a debate hosted by The Yorkshire Post: “It was not so long ago we were in the very poor milk price times and we were shocked to learn about the number of dairy farms that simply did not know their own cost of production.

“Speaking to some banks on the back of that they now say that the problem is shared amongst most of the sectors.”

Mr Richardson said: “What the bank is interested in is how much is that business generating to pay back the interest and the capital payments and how secure is that business, but a lot of businesses don’t have that information in the first instance.”