So it is nearly time to say “Goodbye” to 2015 and “Hello” to 2016. Another year has flown by, with its usual ups and downs, happiness and sadness, sunshine and rain, departed friends and new friends well met.
Back in May, the country went to the polls, with none of the pundits certain of the outcome. In the event, the electorate delivered a result that virtually no-one had predicted – the first Tory majority Government for nearly 20 years. At Defra, this did provide continuity with Ministers now demonstrating a command of their brief. Whatever colour you may support, such continuity has its advantages, particularly in the run up to the delivery of the new Basic Payment Scheme. It would appear that Defra could have been a very different kettle of fish with the Shadow Secretary in charge!
With the new Government came a pledge for an In/Out EU Referendum, which will be fundamental to the economics of UK agriculture. I will leave it to the politicians to fill 2016 with unprovable claims from both sides of the debate.
It is not long ago that the press was chattering about the “Perfect Storm” of an ever rising world population with increased spending power putting strain on world resources, leading to ever higher food prices. That storm seemed to blow out early in 2015, with severe downward pressure coming to bear on all farm commodity prices making it a difficult year for many. Let us hope that 2016 brings some respite for farm finances.
Fortunately for some, poor prices were offset by good yields. I was astonished to hear the news of the world wheat yield record being broken on the Northumberland coast. It just shows what our farmers are capable of given half a chance.
Talking of storms and weather, what an awful end to the year for those affected by Storm Desmond. While the loss of trees is always sad and damage to infrastructure is an expensive nuisance, nothing could be worse than to be flooded. I do hope that all those affected make the best of the Festive Season and are bathed in sunshine in 2016.
For me, spring 2016 will bring my first “lambing”. The Missus has been scanned and is carrying a single. I have upped her rations and laid in plenty of clean bedding. So if I seem rather bleary eyed in March, it will have been due to the night shift in the “lambing shed”!
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas, an early payment of your BPS and a more prosperous New Year. We at Sintons look forward to helping you, whatever your legal needs, throughout 2016. See you then!
If you would like any further information or to discuss any rural related matter, please contact Tom Wills, head of the agriculture & estates department at Sintons.