Scrutton Bland leads Digital Farming Summit

22 January 2021 - Elizabeth O'Hanlon

Scrutton Bland were delighted to host the first part of a Digital Farming Summit to explore some of the issues facing the agricultural community on Wednesday. Nick Banks, Business Advisory  Partner and Head of Agriculture at Scrutton Bland was joined by Caroline Drummond MBE, Chief Executive of Leaf, Doug Field OBE, CEO of the East of England Co-op, David Robinson, Head of Innovation at Frontier crop production and grain marketing, and Will Mitcham of Wilson Wraight agricultural consultants.

Scrutton Bland’s Farming Summit also supported the work of YANA, the mental health charity which supports the farming and rural community. They will donate to YANA the cost of the bacon rolls they would normally have provided at this event, had it been held physically and not digitally.

The Digital Farming Summit attracted over 100 delegates from across the region and beyond, who heard first from Scrutton Bland’s Nick Banks as he presented recent economic data published by DEFRA on total farm income, outlining how farming businesses will be affected by the reduction in subsidies in the next few years, and proposing some of the ways that a data driven approach to tackling these issues can lead to enhanced profitability.

Caroline Drummond MBE then spoke passionately on the need for an agro-ecological approach to farming and food production, and how the Leaf marque has pushed forward this agenda, driving change whilst protecting the environment.

David Robinson of Frontier then presented a practical overview of cost-effective crop establishment, explaining how optimum results depend on a number of factors such as the timeliness of drilling, soil conditions, crop health and yield potential.

Doug Field OBE, CEO of the East of England Co-operative spoke on the way that the current pandemic has changed food retailing, citing examples of both the number and value of sales in recent months. He then outlined how the Co-Op has responded to the change in online shopping habits, and the ways in which they have continued to support local farmers and food suppliers. Finally, a Q&A session was led Will Mitcham of agricultural consultants Wilson Wraight.

The digital event on 20 January was organised by Scrutton Bland, who specialise, amongst other things, in providing financial advice to the agricultural sector. Head of Agriculture Nick Banks commented: “We recognise the importance and value of engaging with our farming clients. The agricultural sector faces a period of transition as direct payments are reduced and the new financial assistance regime to include Environmental Land Management schemes is adopted.  A farming business has to deal with many factors, some of which they can control, such as technology and digitisation, and some of which they can’t, like the weather. We are here to help them make informed decisions at a time of change and ensure that their financial systems are as robust and efficient as possible, and to maximise the accuracy and relevance of the data they hold.”

The second part of the Digital Farming Summit will be held on 27 January, and will deal with the economic outlook for agriculture, precision farming and machinery, agricultural tax strategies and commercial egg production. If you are interested in attending, you can sign up to the event via the Scrutton Bland website

ENDS

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Note to editors:
The Scrutton Bland Group (Scrutton Bland) includes Scrutton Bland LLP, Scrutton Bland Financial Services Ltd, Scrutton Bland Insurance Brokers Ltd and Merrick Hill Commercial and is a provider of insurance broking, accountancy, tax, and chartered independent financial advice. From offices in Colchester, Ipswich, Cambridge and Diss. Scrutton Bland serve a range of clients from small owner managed businesses to large corporate organisations and offers professional advice on personal investments through to workplace pensions. Merrick Hill Commercial is a trading name of S. Merrick Hill (Commercial) Ltd.

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