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News December 2013 7 Testingtimes in Mathry

PEMBROKESHIRE playedhost to the South Wales SheepDog Trial Association’s biggest trial of the year when handlers and their dogs travelled from all over Wales and Europe to compete. The open trial wasrun in twofields,with an

exciting double fetchfinal to decide the South Wales champion. The outrun forthe finalwasaround 500 yards,

onacourse easilybig enough foranational trial. The sheepwere testing butconsistent. Kevin Evans,working his 2011 WelshNational champi- on Greg, wonthe final, ahead of North Walian Aled Owen running Gypsy. Kevin, of Brecon, also took third place with his 2013 WelshNation- al champion Jimmy. Held at treddiogFawr, Mathry,bypermission

of Mr and Mrs Huw Williams,the Pem- brokeshire sheepdogcommitteewasgrateful for the use of the fields and the sheep. It wasthe third association trial to be staged on the large beef and sheepfarm.

SUCCESSION SUCCESS: Eleri James (Farming Connect events support officer), Eirian Humphreys (L.H. Phillips and Co), Rory Hutchings (JCP Solicitors) and Dafydd Thomas (collaboration officer with the Welsh Dairy Supply Chain) at the succession in farming event.

PICTURE: Debbie James.

Plan nowfor secure future

have no succession plan. Accountant


HE future of manywest Wales family farms is at risk because farmers


Humphreys, who farmed in Car- marthenshire before switching careers,said 80% of all new clients had no will, let alone a succession plan. During aFarming Connect

event at Newcastle Emlyn, he warned thatfailure to plan jeop- ardised farmbusinesses. “Succession planning doesn’t

need to be expensive or difficult, butitdoes need to be considered earlier bymanyfarmers and in a more formal waythan it is at present,” saidMrHumphreys, of Carmarthen-based chartered accountants,L.H. Phillips and Co.

“We have clients in their 70s

with sons in their 50s and the sons don’t have access to the cheque book. If the younger gen- eration aren’t allowed to get involved at an earlier agethen their passion forfarming and anyideas they have will fade away.” MrHumphreys, whose compa-

ny acts formore than 1,000 farm- ing families,said taking control of change wasmore satisfying than dealing with unplanned changes. The high value of farmland

has exacerbated succession issues because farmers want to be fair to sons and daughters who aren’t involved in the busi- ness as well as those thatare. Mr Humphreyssaid one

approachwas forchildren who are partners in the familyfarm to payarent. He also suggested

By Debbie James

putting pre-nuptial agreements in place when children are as young as 16. “If this is done before children

reachastage when they are readytoget married it doesn’t feel personal and it gives securi- ty to the future of the farm.” Another speaker at the Farm-

ing Connect event wassolicitor Rory Hutchings,joint head of the Dispute Resolution Practice Group at JCP Solicitors. He had witnessed farm busi-

nesses split because farmers had no plan in place.Manydon’t plan forwhen they are no longer able to farm or die because it is asub- ject thatfrightens them, he sug- gested. “With succession, if the busi-

ness is your battleship youwant to avoid torpedoing it.” Forfarmers who have no suc-

cessor,collaboration can provide asolution. Collaborative ven- tures can range from partner- ships,contract rearing and farm business tenancies,tocontract farming, contract crop growing and cowhire agreements. Dafydd Thomas,collaboration

officer with the Welsh Dairy SupplyChain, said established farmers frequentlyhaveanew lease of life if they have someone with the energytotake on the day-to-daytasks while driving the business forward. But forjoint ventures to be successful, it is important to matchindividuals who have the same goals and objectives. “Good communication must be nurtured between both par-

ties and having asound agree- mentin place fromthe beginning will help communication,” advisedMrThomas. Whatever approachistaken to succession planning, communi- cation, early planning and for- malising the process are all key. Engaging an experienced profes- sional who can separate busi- ness issues from familyissues will help the process of setting clear goals around change. Farming Connect is launching

anew succession planning serv- ice,aptlynamed ‘Around the Kitchen Table’ to aid this process. Eleri James,Farming Connect

events support officer,who organised the succession plan- ning event at Newcastle Emlyn, said the newservice required the full co-operation of every family member,including the extended familyifthey are likelytobea part of the business in the future. “A facilitator trained in this

field would attend the meeting with the familytoencourage dis- cussion. This is afullyfunded session and there is an opportu- nity to claim funding forthe fam- ilyaccountant to attend. “Farming Connect also offers succession surgeries where farmers can gain afullyfunded one-to-one consultation with a professional solicitor to discuss succession issues specific to their business,” saidMsJames. Formore information please contact Einir Haf Davies,Farm- ing Connect events development manager,on01970 636297 or by emailing einir.davies@menter-

RESULTS: FINAL: 1, D.K. Evans (Libanus) Greg, 17; 2, A. Owen (Corwen) Gypsy, 26; 3, D.K. Evans,Jimmy, 35; 4, E.L. Morgan (Aberystwyth) Glyn, 37; 5, R. Games (Talgarth) Roy, 41; 6, I. Evans (Ystrad Meurig) Jess,43OLF.

We understand therealissues facing theWelsh rural economy.

Which is whywe’re the Land &Agricultural LawSpecialists.Call our specialist Rural team on 01437 764723 or email


JCP Solicitors is the trading name of John Collins and Partners LLP. Recently merged with VJGJohns and BissmireFudge.

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