Posted 23 October 2009
“Financing the Farm Business” was the topic at the latest Harper Forum, with Euryn Jones from Barclays addressing students at Harper Adams University College.
Mr Jones is Barclays National Agricultural Specialist. He has been with the bank since 1999, having previously lectured in rural business management for 16 years.
Speaking in a busy lecture theatre, he took a more positive look to the financial downturn than is often portrayed by the media, pointing out that, generally, the agricultural economy does not follow the same trends as the non agricultural one.
Mr Jones said that farming did not share the same financial highs as some other sectors and therefore should not follow in the worst of the recession either. He said that Barclays is not denying that these are hard times, but explained that banks are still lending and, more positively for the agricultural sector, this is an area they are keen to invest more in. He highlighted out that in 2009 there was a 15% increase to the single farm payment compared to 2008, which is another boost for farming during these times.
The students were keen to know what Mr Jones’s predictions were for the future. What is going to happen to interest rates? Where would he recommend investing money? He felt he couldn’t answer many of the student questions fully but stressed that Barclays was positive about the future.
He went on to explain to the students what, as a bank and as an agricultural specialist, he would be looking for from his clients when assessing them for financial backing. Mr Jones stressed to the students that it’s not all about the facts and figures but that “farmers have a passion for their farms and their futures, farming can demand much investment of emotion as well as capital”.
The Harper Forum is a student run society that invites topical speakers from the industry to speak to the students of Harper Adams University College, in Shropshire. A talk followed by a question and answer session is held every Thursday evening, with the aim of bringing another aspect to the students’ learning.
On Thursday October 29, the invited speaker is self-started businessman John Bowler, whose company of the same name is one of the largest producers of Lion Code Free Range and Organic Eggs in the UK .
Article by Carla Coghlan, Harper Forum Reporter