The head of farm business at GSC Grays has said that farmers are gaining a more “optimistic and opportunistic attitude for the future”.

Greg Ricketts said he is also optimistic about the future of farming, because “farmers are looking positively at what they can do differently with their farm businesses in a constructive way rather than agonising about what could have been”.

Ricketts said he believes there is a positive future ahead for farming businesses, as they come to terms with the loss of the Basic Payment System (BPS).

“Clients are embracing the need for change and the need for profitability and long term the sector is going to be more robust and see greater profits,” Ricketts said.

“We will have a strong industry going forward with perhaps a slightly lower number of active farming businesses.”

Ricketts said he has already seen farm businesses across the North of England implementing change as part of an overall strategy.


“Succession is a big issue which has gone up the agenda list with people starting to think 5,10,15 years ahead and do we hand over the to the next generation now who are also starting to ask the question,” he said.

“The changes are so big at the moment that if you don’t have a succession plan you would almost wonder why you are farming.

“Any business plan should start with a succession plan. That is not where most people start, but it is a good way of thinking about the future.”

Ricketts believes GSC Grays‘ Farm Business Advice Service, funded by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) future farming resilience fund, can play a role in mapping out this successful future.

South Pennine upland beef and sheep farmer. Rachel Hallos, said: “As a family we had a discussion around our kitchen table before our review took place about what we wanted the future to be about because its not just me and my husband, it is the future of our children.”

Hallos said the GSC Grays review has given her and her family “confidence” that they can see a future beyond BPS.

“The last 12 months has been particularly difficult and we are looking at how we can increase our profitability,” she said.

“Having GSC Grays sitting around the table gave us the options which will help profitability and in a time of change you sometimes need to find that external partner.”

Ricketts said it is important to sit down as a family and “take a cold hard look at the numbers”.