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News from AgriWales - A blog about everything and anything that's happening

If your farm is operating as a family business, you might think it unnecessary to have a formal partnership agreement, but disputes and broken family relationships can result where misconceptions arise over ownership of assets.

It is not uncommon for the distinction between business assets and personal assets to become blurred over the years, and this is particularly true in the case of the farmhouse or similar buildings where the family has been residing. Are those buildings owned by the partners? Or were they owned by, for example, Father or Grandfather, and merely used by the farming partnership during the course of the ongoing activities of the business?

In a recent court case, where no formal partnership agreement had ever been drawn up, the judge ruled that a farmhouse

The average price of a house sold in mid Wales jumped 11 per cent last year according to new figures released. Good news for those looking to sell in 2019, according to Estate Agents, Roger Parry & Partners.

According to the UK House Price Index, published by the Land Registry, the average sale price in Powys is now to £197,226 after a 3.3% jump in October 2018. First time buyers would pay on average £173,357 for their first home while the average price for a current owner-occupier is £219,764.

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners in Oswestry said, “House prices across the UK increased by an average of 2.7 per cent in the 12 months to October 2018, according to the latest ONS house price index. This latest news is just what potential sellers want to hear right now. It shows confidence in the current housing market with positive signs that house prices could rise further in the new year.”

The arrival of a new year is often a time of optimism, of making plans for the year ahead, but increasingly for livestock farmers, January is now the time producers find themselves arguing a torrent of false claims of crimes against animal welfare, the environment and human health that the media are so quick to promote as part of ‘Veganuary’.

 
And this year, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is ready to fight back too against the misguided and misleading campaign.
 
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “Make no doubt about it, behind the positive messages about Veganuary lies a well co-ordinated campaign against livestock farming. Our concern is that our unique grass based method of sheep production in Britain is hidden within more global and general statistics.
 
“We are seeing criticisms from welfare campaigners, rewilders, climate change campaigners, and health campaigners – but all these are connected and ignore the fact that UK sheep farming works very much in harmony with our environment, our landscapes, and our human ecology – creating a countryside the majority of the public love and producing a food product that is healthy and nutritious within a balanced diet.
 
“The climate change arguments that have been buoyed by the recent Paris Climate Change Summit ignore the fact that red meat from livestock that is part of a grass based system is different from that raised in feedlots and in intensive situations.

With best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019 from everyone at AgriWales

We would like to thank everyone for supporting us during 2018

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas

From

The Team at AgriWales

It is important to for Employers and Employees to understand their requirements with regards to holiday leave.  Employees need to be aware that they can request holiday leave when they want.  Employers may refuse to give holiday leave at certain times, for example during busy periods, but they can’t refuse to let an Employee take any holiday at all.  They can also make Employees take leave at certain times, such as Christmas or bank holidays, and restrict how much holiday can be taken at one time.

An Employee will need to give an Employor at least twice the amount of notice as time as they want to take off, unless their contract says to the contrary.  An Employer must give the same amount of notice to refuse leave as the amount of holiday an Employee has requested.  

The Employer will also have a start and end date when the Employer should take your holiday known as the ‘leave year’ and Employees need to be aware of this because an Employee must take most of their statutory leave during the leave year. It is possible for Employees to ‘carry over’ in the next leave year up to 8 days out

Naming someone to take care of your finances in the event of incapacitating illness or injury, ensures you retain control of your business and can save substantial legal fees.

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you choose people you trust to make financial or health and care decisions on your behalf. An LPA can be used only after it is registered, and there are two different types.

Property and financial affairs which covers management of investments, income, paying of bills and applying for benefits as well as purchase and sale of property.

Health and welfare can only be used when mental capacity has been lost. You can give authority for your chosen attorney to make decisions over life sustaining treatment as well as care packages, living arrangements and treatments.

Improving genetics and fertility are key ways to optimise your system. Speaking at a recent fertility event, Dave Gilbert of Horizon Dairy Vets gave us his top tips to make improvements:

  • Start with the end in mind and a clear objective for what you want to achieve with your herd
  • Recovery time is key; make sure you give your cows plenty of time before calving again. Healthy, well-fed cows will get back in calf and define the success of each year. Make sure the herd is in good nutritional order and you have dealt with health problems
  • If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage – you won’t achieve success year-on-year if you aren’t proactive. You need to be able to adapt and change each giving season. One year, what you do might be successful, but the following year circumstances may change

Nine changes are being made to  the system but they are unlikely appease everyone.

Changes are to be made to the livestock Quarantine Unit (QU) scheme in Wales after a dismal summer for some agricultural shows.

While they are set to be introduced before the 2019 show season, the changes are unlikely to appease exhibitors who this year were suddenly confronted by large fees for the privilege of showing their animals.

However a grant scheme may be introduced to help farmers meet the initial cost of QU certification.

NSA is celebrating the news that Secretary of State Michael Gove has refused permission for lynx to be released in the Kielder Forest, Northumberland – on the grounds that a review by Natural England has concluded the application from Lynx UK Trust does not meet the necessary standards.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “NSA is delighted to hear the application has been rejected and that Mr Gove and his colleagues within Defra and Natural England have taken our comments on board. We strongly believe this is the right decision, on ecological, social and agricultural grounds. Today’s victory is not just for farmers, but for the ecology of the area, the rural community and the farming economy.

Terriers come in two types. Farmers are already familiar with the usefulness of the small hairy kind that who can keep rats out of the barn. For the purpose of this blog we will focus on a lesser known variety.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the other version of a terrier is defined as ‘a register of the lands belonging to a landowner, originally including a list of tenants, their holdings, and the rents paid, later consisting of a description of the acreage and boundaries of the property.’

Literally coming from Medieval Latin meaning ‘book of land’, a copy of the terrier is an essential part of an accountants files when dealing with farms and landed estates.

According to Defra’s most recent Farm Business Survey, two-thirds of farm businesses in England and 38% of farmers in Wales, have already diversified. Roger Parry & Partners are urging those who haven’t yet considered diversifying to start preparing now for a post Brexit future.

Richard Corbett, Partner in Roger Parry & Partners’ Oswestry office is concerned that farming is entering a time of major change, but not all farmers are ready to face that change. Richard said, “Those farm businesses that are prepared to recognise that change is on the way, and have planned for the future, will be the most resilient in the face of the industry restructure that is forecast. Those farmers will also be best placed to take advantage of any future opportunities.”

In the latest edition of Roger Parry & Partners’ newsletter, The Review, Richard highlights some of the opportunities and diversification trends that farmers could take advantage of, whether looking for a new project or wanting to add value to an existing diversification.

“Focusing on the use of the latest knowledge, finding innovative efficient ways of working and continuous professional development are some of the most important and significant contributors to help us ensure our farm businesses continue to be competitive and productive,” Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said when she launched two new Animal Health & Welfare and ICT skills development programmes at this year’s Winter Fair in Llanelwedd.

The Cabinet Secretary was speaking to stakeholders and industry representatives from all the key agricultural sectors in Wales at a special event today (Monday, 26 November) held in the Lantra building, Avenue K at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.

Delivered by the farmer’s veterinarian, through the Lantra’s Skills Development programme, livestock farmers registered with Farming Connect will from the new year onwards, be encouraged to complete fully funded short training courses linked to the Welsh Government’s animal health and welfare priorities.

The startling statistic was revealed by Jim Moseley, chief executive of the assurance scheme, at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum (WFNF) event in London last week.

While UK consumers think standards in British farming and food production are very high, they also have a similar impression of other mature markets, such as the USA and New Zealand, despite the fact that farmers in these countries use growth hormones to produce beef more quickly and increase dairy yields.

Washing chicken carcases with chlorine is also commonplace in both nations.

It is a question successive governments have tried and failed to answer and, as time goes on, the cost to the farming industry and the taxpayer continues to mount.

An emotive and highly contentious issue, it has been exacerbated by a fiercely fought battle between industry and wildlife campaigners, often with farmers left caught in the crossfire.

And the politicisation of the debate, as highlighted in Charles Godfray’s review of the Government’s 25-year strategy published this week, has actually deflected from the issue at large.

For more see: https://www.fginsight.com/blogs/leader-we-need-a-suite-of-measures-not-a-bovine-tb-blame-game 

Defra has confirmed BPS entitlements and greening rates for 2018, after the exchange rate was set.

Both entitlements and greening rates will rise for non-severely disadvantaged areas (SDA) and upland SDA, other than moorland. Payments will start landing in farmers’ bank accounts from Monday December 3.

Drone Laws

There are height limits in place to ensure that drones are used safely.  Drones are restricted from flying above 400 feet (122 metres) and within 1 kilometre of airport boundaries.  Also, owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more are required to register with the Civil Aviation Authority with drone pilots having to take an online safety test.  These requirements come into force on 30th November 2019.  If drone users flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions, they could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft which could result in an unlimited fine, up to 5 years in prison or both.  Failure to register or sit the competency tests could result in users being fined up to £1,000.00.

For the full newsletter see: www.mjjsolicitors.co.uk/latest/?utm_source=Contacts&utm_campaign=5344cbb0d1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_10_30_10_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_01a3a258ae-5344cbb0d1-86019469 

Total sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK have fallen to their lowest level since 1993, according to Defra’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance Sales and Surveillance (VARSS) report shows that sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 18% between 2016 and 2017 to reach a low of 37 mg/kg. Sales have also dropped by 40% between 2013 and 2017.

For the first time, the annual report presents data on the use of antibiotics in beef, trout and salmon in addition to usage in the poultry, pig, dairy, gamebird and egg-laying hen industries.

For more see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sales-of-veterinary-antibiotics-at-their-lowest-in-25-years?utm_source=fe99a90c-6fe8-4f3f-b6d3-1c2493659e20&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate 

Reform of existing tax measures could be on the horizon for owners of land approved for development.

A report published in September 2018 by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee suggested that the significant increase in the value of agricultural land when planning permission is granted for residential use should be reflected in more robust taxation. Land worth only thousands on the agricultural market can realise millions when approved for housing.

The Committee highlighted the fact that landowners had the potential to make multi-millions in profits when their land is sold on for major development. Given that this is only made possible by the granting of planning permission by public bodies, it would, they believe, be appropriate for a proportion of the uplift to be reinvested in public services and shared with local communities. This could most effectively be achieved by changes to the current taxation regime, with the resulting increase in public revenue allowing local authorities to make a greater financial contribution to community projects for the benefit of all residents.

Wales’ two farming unions have launched a joint principles paper aimed at placing Welsh food, farming, livelihoods, communities and our environment on a firm post-Brexit footing.

The paper, entitled ‘A Welsh way forward’, was revealed by Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts and NFU Cymru President John Davies at a briefing session for Assembly Members and Welsh Government staff on Wednesday, October 24, at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff. The event was kindly sponsored by Paul Davies AM.

 

The publication comes in response to the Welsh Government’s current consultation on future rural and land management policies – entitled ‘Brexit and our land’.

 

Since the consultation was launched, both Unions have held meetings throughout Wales, engaging with thousands of farming businesses, as well as those from a wide range of allied industries such as agricultural merchants and contractors, auctioneers, vets, processors, accountants and financial advisers.

 

Based on their respective consultation engagement programmes, the Unions have gained an unrivalled mandate to speak on behalf of rural Wales.

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