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Field Talk

Welcome to Field Talk, our agricultural law newsletter

As we look forward to Summer and meeting up with friends old and new on the agricultural show circuit it is against the backdrop of one of the most uncertain times farming has faced in living memory. In what has always been a challenging industry, the phasing out of the BPS, ambiguity of the new government schemes combined with eye watering rises in costs and an increasingly volatile climate is giving everyone involved in farming sleepless nights. Navigating these new challenges will test all of us but the team at Clarke Willmott are dedicated to safeguarding the farming future of our clients.

In January, we were delighted to receive the Tim Sell Award for Excellence from the NFU. This award is presented annually to the legal firm who has shown outstanding contribution to agriculture. Our work in helping 17 NFU members obtain hundreds of thousands of pounds in settlement of a group legal claim against firms accused of mis-selling finance deals and seizing their property demonstrated the tenacity and commitment of our team in a case that spanned 8 years. This team continues to be ranked as Band 1 in the South West in the recent Chambers and Partners 2023 Guide and I am very proud of all they continue to achieve on behalf of their clients.

This Summer’s shows represent a vitally important opportunity for members of the farming community to come together and celebrate the very best of British Agriculture. Alongside this we are pleased to facilitate the relaunch of South West Women in Agriculture. This, female only, networking group provides a valuable opportunity to the many women involved in farming across our region to make new connections and friends in the industry. If you know anyone who would enjoy being part of this group, please do get in touch so we can add them to the mailing list.

We hope you enjoy reading this edition of Field Talk, and as ever please do not hesitate to get in touch to see if we can help you or your business.

Esther Woolford

Head of Agriculture Sector Team

In this edition:

Breeds at risk register: Changes and challenges for farmers and breed societies

As all livestock farmers will know, Defra maintain a list of breeds deemed to be at risk. The list is maintained and sets out specific breeds. Those breeds included on the list obtain various benefits including potential exemption from culling in the event of a disease outbreak. Read more

Divorce and the family farm

Providing a realistic valuation of farm assets in the case of divorce can be ‘tricky’ not only because of the inherent uncertainties farmers face such as weather, rising prices and subsidies but now also because of a seven-year Brexit transition rule, says family law specialist Philippa Yeo. Read more

Spring Forward, Fall Down? A brief reminder of the risks of working at height

Falls from height were the most common cause of workplace death (across all sectors) in 2021-22. Most of those falls could have been prevented, saving injury, heartache and massive fines imposed by the courts. Read more

Notes from the NFU: Environmental markets

There has been much discussion in farming circles recently around the potential of what are known as environmental markets. Read more

An interview with Alan Lyons, Shows Consultant

Alan Lyons has spent a lifetime in Shows from competing at a young age, judging, commentating, stewarding, being an attraction with his Great British Sheep Show and as Head of Shows at the Royal Bath & West Show for over 15 years. Read more

Proud supporters of FWAG South West and the Kingfisher Project

The Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) South West are a registered charity representing farmers and landowners in the delivery of wildlife conservation. Read more


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Winter 2022

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How the UK’s relentless rain is affecting growers contracts

The NFU has indicated that harvest prospects are predicted to be lower than average for many growers in England. Some businesses will be concerned that they will not be able to fulfil their contractual obligations, as a result.
Read more on How the UK’s relentless rain is affecting growers contracts

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