A major new independent study commissioned by The Prince‟s Countryside Fund into the future of small family farms across the UK has been launched.
Over the last two or three decades, small family farms have experienced profound change. The report set out to explore the future for these farms by identifying the pace of change, investigating ways in which they might improve performance and viability as well as putting forward proposals for improvements to farm management, adjusting policies and bringing in new blood.
Overseen by Professor Michael Winter, a rural policy specialist and rural social scientist at the University of Exeter, the report revealed a complex pattern of change with the number of farms declining by half and showed many smaller farms had been consolidated into expanding larger farms.
One of the largest risks was identified as farm succession. Without the correct retirement planning and restructuring in place, it is claimed it will make it more difficult for the „older generation to step back‟, yet it confirms that the „most profitable farms are those most likely to have a successor, regardless of size‟.
The full report produced by The University of Exeter and its recommendations is available to download from The Prince’s Countryside Fund website:
Later this month, The Prince‟s Countryside Fund will be announcing a new programme of support in response to the findings of the report.