Yorkshire agriculture showing strong recovery compared with other regions, says R3

Agriculture in Yorkshire is showing a strong recovery compared with other regions, according to research by insolvency trade body R3. William Ballmann, chair of R3 and partner at Gateley, said it is encouraging to see signs that in Yorkshire, where many livelihoods still depend on the land, farming enterprises are starting to recover.

Figures for May 2014 show that Yorkshire has one of the best-performing sectors across England and Wales with just 13 per cent of agricultural businesses in the region having a higher-than-normal risk of insolvency.

Levels of agricultural distress have dropped steadily in Yorkshire over the last six months, falling by almost three per cent since the previous month, with 203 agricultural businesses identified as being at high risk in May out of 1,472 active companies.

This recovery was reflected in a positive trend across the UK, which was most marked in the north of England, with agriculture in the north east and the north west also showing resilience.

R3 uses research compiled from Bureau van Dijk’s Fame database of company information to track the number of businesses in key regional sectors that have a heightened risk of entering insolvency in the next year.

Ballmann said: ‘With growing concern from consumers about food provenance, including an increased focus on organic farming, this resurgence may be an indication that farmers are starting to benefit from growing demand for quality, local produce.

‘The sector has a number of challenges to overcome in the next couple of years, not least the increasingly competitive supermarket price wars, so it’s good to see the region’s agricultural businesses are starting from a position of strength.’

Other sectors that continued to show a strong recovery in Yorkshire were manufacturing and hotels, which put in the strongest performance last month, with only 20 per cent of businesses in these sectors having a higher-than-normal risk of insolvency. The worst-performing sectors in the region in May were pubs, restaurants and technology and IT at 35 per cent.

Ballmann said: ‘Generally, we are seeing an upward trend as many businesses begin to feel the benefits of a sustained recovery; however, some sectors are continuing to face challenges and it is vital that businesses seek professional help at the first signs of financial difficulties.’