Last week’s Cereals event was a reminder of just how resilient the Agriculture sector is – whatever gets thrown our way! Prior to the first day of the show, 42mm of rain fell, turning the site in Lincolnshire into a mud bath. But that was never going to be enough to deter attendees and exhibitors, who’d been planning their time at the show for months.
With the site difficult to navigate by foot and vehicle, visitors combined creativity with grit and a good measure of kindness to make sure they, and others, made it to meetings and presentations on time. Seeing such obvious displays of determination and empathy was a reminder that the British farming community is used to dealing with adversity, and great at pulling together when things get tough.
The last few years have been difficult for many Agribusinesses and concerns about Brexit haven’t helped. Across the board, people have become more cautious – putting off ‘non-essential’ decisions and investments, and adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. There has also been a knock on effect on cash flow for the supply trade, which decided to stockpile last year – ahead of a deadline that came and went.
Yet at Cereals, I sensed that a shift has started. Rather than the mud making everyone feel miserable, it was encouraging to hear many clients and businesses say they are now just getting on with business. Brexit fatigue has kicked in and people have decided to press on regardless. This is really good news. As an industry, and as individuals, we should have the confidence of our convictions. Waiting to employ the people we need or delaying tough business or investment decisions through fear of the unknown will not help. When things get tough you need great people around you to pull you through. After all, if you think about BSE, Foot and Mouth and Set-Aside, we’ve shown we can get through turbulent times and weather the storm!