Insolvency threatens more Yorkshire agricultural firms

The number of agricultural firms facing an above average risk of insolvency in Yorkshire has surged by 7.4%, new figures show.

Data from insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, compiled using Bureau Van Dijk’s Fame database, reveal that around 430 agricultural firms are facing greater insolvency risk.

Overall, 23.5% of Yorkshire’s agricultural are deemed to be in that position, which is marginally below the national average of 24.3%.

Three other regions were also below the national average – the East of England, East Midlands and Scotland – with all other parts of the UK facing an even greater insolvency risk.

R3’s Yorkshire chairwoman Eleanor Temple, said the sector is facing a number of challengers, despite showing a certain degree if resilience.

She highlighted uncertainty over what a Brexit ‘no deal’ may mean for farmers, with those concerns echoing those of the Agriculture and Development Board, which works to advise British farmers.

Given that agricultural businesses have a wide variety of working capital cycles depending on their exact areas of operation, farmers are encouraged to seek advice if they have any concerns.

“Ensuring that you keep a close eye on cash flow and seek professional advice at the first sign of trouble will be vital to weathering the storm,†explained Ms Temple.

Advisory services could provide methods to reduce costs, streamline operations or to just stabilise a business facing turbulent times or worse, insolvency.

The agricultural sector could face greater competition from non-EU producers and the loss of subsidies in the years ahead, which could pile further pressure onto the market.

Yorkshire saw a 3.8% jump in the number of firms deemed to be at above average risk of insolvency in November, marginally below the national average increase of 3.9%.

While restructuring or refinancing can provide valuable assistance for firms facing tough times, the key to overcoming issues – which cannot be overstated – is to act early.

By Phil Smith

 

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