This week saw the publication of aSRUC Reportwhich suggests that Brexit may result in an increased number of farmers and crofters - perhaps as many as 1 in 5 - considering early retirement. The report raises concerns about this potentially leading tolower investment agriculture,which overallmay have anegative impact on the wider rural economy

The report itself covers a huge number of rural issues and thepress coveragehas, perhaps unsurprisingly,focused on theBrexit commentary.Although the headlineshave highlighted concerns aboutsuccession and retirement, the report looks at a wide range of Brexit-related issues which affect the rural sector, such as:

  • the agricultural sector's reliance on seasonal and migrant labour (particularly in sub-sectors such as horticulture)
  • the importance of the export market for products like seed potatoes
  • the impact of the weakening Pound
  • uncertainties over future subsidy support systems

The report will make interesting reading for anyone involved in the rural sector in Scotland.

Coming back to the headline issue of succession and retirement, whether or notBrexit willbeacatalyst for a generational change in Scottish farmingremains to be seen. Succession planning in agricultural businesses is rarely simple and, as we have covered previously, forthcoming reform of the rules mean that all farm and rural business owners should take some time to consider their own position carefully.