Keep calm and plough on - giving farmers one less thing to worry about this summer

Pixabay Tractor And Other

As we close on one of the hottest and driest Junes on record, spare a thought for the UK’s farmers as they now head in to a busy July to September harvest period. Yet, for all of the ongoing chit-chat about the weather and other issues impacting the sector, one topic that’s never far from headlines when it comes to the future of UK agriculture, is Brexit.

Why does Brexit matter so much to our nation’s farming community? Well, trade with the EU is massive business for UK farmers. We trade 40% of lamb exports, 80% of dairy exports and 75% of wheat and barley exports with the European market – this is about 70% of the UK’s overall excess food produce[1].

That’s why many farmers breathed a sigh of relief earlier this year when the Brexit transition arrangement was agreed between the EU and the UK, guaranteeing that farmers’ custom union arrangements and ability to hire EU workers would be unchanged until December 2020. However as Theresa May prepares to unveil her Brexit plan this Friday, the sector awaits further news of what a post-Brexit future in farming might look like.

The last thing farmers want at the moment is more uncertainty over their future because there’s already a lot of that in their working lives (whether it's  the weather or fluctuating pricing). Plus there is a lot that can go wrong on a farm – a subject we spoke about in a recent article on the unique and unpredictable nature of agricultural motor claims.

Being there for farmers, come what may

As a specialist agricultural motor insurer, there’s sadly not much we can do to impact the outcome of Brexit for farmers. But what we can do is operate at the same pace as the farmers, working closely with our brokers to ensure that a) they have cover that meets their specific needs and b) any claims they do face are handled swiftly and with minimal inconvenience.

Machinery can be hugely expensive to repair or replace in the event of an unforeseen problem and busy farmers keen to ‘get on with it’ – particularly in the busy July to September period - could unwittingly compromise their insurance policies – or worse – their safety, by attempting to fix the problems themselves. That’s why we employ our own team of motor engineers (including many agricultural specialists) who understand these vehicles and can speak to customers in their language to get it repaired – or a claim settled - quickly.

Brexit may make life that bit more uncertain, but one thing is for sure – farming will continue to be a tough profession for those working within it. That said, when problems happen, the right insurance policy, and access to sector specialists, can literally be a lifeline, especially  when fully-functioning machinery is so central to helping delivering a successful and profitable year.

[1] http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/national/article/Zero-tariff-frictionless-trade-with-EU-vital-says-farming-leader-73e2d2c4-deb2-4787-a3c4-7b5e98de1343-ds

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