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Welsh Agriculture can Weather the Brexit Storm


Agriculture has weathered many storms – so the industry is more than capable of withstanding whatever the Brexit deal might bring, says Roddy McLean, NatWest’s Director of Agriculture.

The ‘B’ word, ‘Brexit’, is on everyone’s mind, and we are perhaps getting a little punch drunk with lots of noise.

While we as individuals can do little to influence the Government in their negotiations with the EU, representative organisations such as NFU Cymru and FUW, amongst others, have an important role to play.

The trade deals ultimately struck and the agricultural support measures put in place have the potential to significantly impact Welsh farming businesses, particularly beef and sheep enterprises.

The initial impact of coming out of Europe has seen Sterling weaken against the Euro, with the result that farming performance in Wales would be expected to show an improving position in 2017 compared to previous years. But relying on Sterling continuing to be weak in order to provide improved prices is perhaps a distant hope.

The uncertainty around the outcomes of the Brexit negotiations should not be used as an excuse for holding fire on decisions linked to driving your business forward. Yes, there will be challenges ahead, but this has always been an industry with a track record of adaptability and resilience.  And with the challenges will undoubtedly come opportunities.

To ensure your business is in the best possible shape to take advantage of the opportunities that come along, challenge all that is in your control and which you can influence now.  Ask the question ‘why?’ several times. If the answer is: 

“That’s the way we always done it,” challenge again. Can you learn from your peers within the industry or from other industries better and leaner ways to operate your business?

You are responsible for your own and your business’ future. Make sure you don’t leave it all to hope.  Make time to strategically work on your business rather spending all your time and energies working in your business. Yes, it can be difficult to make the time, but where potentially will the best return come from?