A WELL-attended meeting heard how careful management of farm budgets was more important then ever in current economic circumstances.

More than 60 people attended “Managing Risk in Your Family Business – A Farming Case Study” at Romanby Golf & Country Club, near Northallerton.

The seminar was organised by Armstrong Watson accountants, property specialists Strutt & Parker and Lloyds TSB.

The effect of this year’s poor weather and its potential impact on a predicted poor 2013 harvest was discussed.

Farmers were encouraged to speak with their accountant and bank manager sooner rather than later in order to assess the impact on cash flow.

Peter Molyneux, Northallerton-based partner at Armstrong Watson, said: “We are pro-actively talking to our farming clients to assess the tax implications of both the poor weather, and also the recent reduction in annual investment allowance.”

But delegates were also told that, with careful planning and proactive advice from their accountant, exposure to both capital gains tax and inheritance tax could often be reduced.

Strutt & Parker partner Simon Britton talked about the importance of budgeting, particularly in times of unpredictable weather and economic volatility, to ensure businesses had adequate cash flow provisions to cover their requirements.

Mr Britton spoke about expansion opportunities facing the featured farming case study. After he presented the various options, the consensus of the audience supported a land purchase rather than FBT or contract farming the additional acres.

Geoff Hall, Lloyds TSB’s regional agriculture manager, spoke of the opportunities to secure long-term borrowing at historically low fixed rates.

He said: “There was a great turnout on the day, and despite the impact on farming businesses of the recent weather, people were able to take away some really positive messages from the seminar.