WITH Covid-19 and Brexit creating a 'perfect storm' of disruption for the industry, it is more important than ever for farm businesses to consider the economic landscape and think about the changes that might lie ahead in the coming months.

That is the message from SAC Consulting which, with the support of the Scottish Government’s Farm Advisory Service, has just published the 2020-21 Farm Management Handbook.

Available online and in print from this week, the handbook contains up-to-date crop and livestock enterprise data together with updates on specific rules and regulations to help businesses be as prepared as possible in an uncertain climate.

Brexit remains a huge concern to Scotland’s farmers as a trade deal between the UK and the EU has not yet materialised and the December 31 deadline for negotiating a trade deal is fast approaching.

Editor Alastair Beattie, an agricultural consultant at SAC Consulting, said although Scottish agriculture remains resilient, many farmers have struggled as, in some cases, Covid-19 had caused some market outlets for product to disappear 'almost overnight'.

“The uncertainties over Brexit and the impact of the pandemic has meant a perfect storm for Scottish agriculture this year. And, with further changes to agricultural policy coming soon, it has never been more important to plan ahead, be open to new ideas, and to ensure that your business remains adaptable to change.

“While fully appreciating that agricultural production systems cannot be switched on or off overnight, now is the time to establish how any new trade deals might impact your business, assess the risks, weigh up the options and plan the way forward.

“If sitting down to prepare a cashflow budget is not your thing, remember that there is support available under the Farm Advisory Service. Farmers can apply to the FAS to have an accredited adviser draw up an Integrated Land Management Plan (ILMP) – part of which can be geared towards analysing farm business efficiency and budgeting.

“The Farm Management Handbook is the perfect reference point for the most up-to-date figures to help farm businesses prepare for the unexpected.”