FARM businesses in the area are being urged by rural experts to take immediate action as they could see their profits hit over the next three years.

Under-pressure farmers are being urged to seek immediate help to weather a subsidy shake-up that’s likely to herald the start of big changes to modern farming.

Victoria Ivinson, head of the agricultural team with tax and accountancy firm Douglas Home & Co, said: “For many farmers, these subsidy payments prop up the business

“Our estimate is that at least 50 percent of farmers could see their profit wiped out. While most may break even, many will be running at a loss once the subsidies are cut. That is a horrifying prospect.

“At the moment, this money is essential to help them smooth out the challenges posed by major weather events, fluctuations in yields and grain prices and many other unpredictable variables.”

As part of Brexit, the Basic Payment Scheme is being phased out between 2021 and 2028, meaning farmers could lose between 50-70 percent of their subsidy by 2024.

Deeper cuts and further changes will also continue beyond 2024.

Victoria, whose husband is a beef and sheep farmer in Penrith added: “We are entering a decade of massive change across farming and the rural economy.

"Brexit, climate change and major labour shortages are already causing sleepless nights.

“Yet subsidy cuts are an even bigger threat to survival, particularly for those with no other income stream or alternative financial support. Frankly, some farmers are terrified.”

Another common problem is that many are unaware which parts of their business are profitable and which are not.

Victoria added: “By facing up to difficult questions, making proactive changes and planning ahead, they can secure their farming future. The hits will keep on coming as environmental regulations ramp up – getting fit for purpose now is essential. 

“Starting now is vital, because this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are in the midst of a climate emergency which means more Government regulation is coming. Acting now could help farmers reduce the sting for years, if not decades to come.”