Pam Johns, Partner and Rural Services Team Leader at Coodes Solicitors, explains why Coodes Solicitors is sponsoring the Young Farmer of the Year award at the South West Farmer awards 2018.
Coodes Solicitors has sponsored the Young Farmer of the Year category of the South West Farmer Awards, since the awards began in 2016. As a law firm with a dedicated rural team, we are proud to support these awards, which celebrate the achievements of the region’s farming community. Generations of landowners have trusted Coodes with their legal work and we consider ourselves very privileged to support rural businesses as they develop, diversify and grow.
The Young Farmer of the Year is more relevant and important than ever before. Here at Coodes, we are seeing more and more farming families entrusting the younger generation with a large stake in the business. We are advising growing numbers of clients, who want to set up Partnership Agreements where the son or daughter has the controlling share (at least 51%) of the business. Members of the farming community will know that this helps to access the Young Farmers Basic Payment Entitlement. Despite the obvious financial benefits this brings, it is a big decision for any farming family to put so much responsibility on young shoulders. With land now being so valuable, there are huge amounts of money involved, which brings a considerable amount of risk.
When they become more involved in the farm, young farmers need to consider how their personal circumstances might impact on the farm business in the future. If they are planning to marry, have they considered pre-nuptial agreements to protect the value of the farm? Or if they are cohabiting with a partner, are they aware that a Living Together Agreement offers some legal protection? With many farming families having assets running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, it is important to plan ahead and get the right advice.
Partnership Agreements vary and having a certain share of the business, does not necessarily mean having control over the land. Although many farmers may not differentiate between the business and the land, they are different in legal terms. It is important that your Partnership Agreement reflects the split you want. Again, getting expert advice is crucial.
With five Fellows of the Agricultural Law Association, Coodes is one of the few law firms to have a specialist Rural Services team. This depth and breadth of expertise means we understand the range of personal and business issues that a young farmer needs to consider.
Young farmers are playing a bigger role than ever before. We think it is important that their efforts are celebrated. Perhaps you know a young farmer who has shown themselves to be particularly creative, innovative and forward thinking and have achieved positive results from their new ideas. To nominate someone for the Young Farmer of the Year, and any other of the South West Farmer Awards, visit the website.