Running a farming business can be incredibly rewarding, with many benefits such as spending time outdoors, having reliable work in rural areas and feeling part of feeding the nation.
But it also comes with exposure to risks on all levels, ranging from the day-to-day to even international concerns. Understanding the various risks that you face is vital for you to protect the profitability and longevity of your farm.
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Farming is a dangerous industry, with workers exposed to dangerous machinery, chemicals and livestock. To help quantify these risks, data released by the Health and Safety Executive shows that the agriculture industry accounted for roughly 15% of workplace fatalities in the year 2022/23.
In light of such a high rate of fatal injury, as well as similarly high rates of non-fatal injuries and work-related illnesses, it’s vital you do everything possible to protect your workers. At a minimum, this should include carrying out detailed risk assessment sand ensuring that your staff use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times during work.
Defective equipment is a significant risk in agriculture. Not only does it pose a threat to your workers, as mentioned above, but it can also seriously impede productivity.
Your work schedule can experience significant delays when the necessary equipment is out of action, and paying for repairs or replacements can seriously eat into your profits.
Make sure that you carry out regular inspections and maintenance for all your equipment. Many farmers also find additional comfort in a robust plant hire insurance policy for any rented equipment, which can help to minimize the financial impact of any damage to equipment that could occur on the job.
Changes to policies and regulations regarding agriculture can be hard to predict. These changes are usually created and implemented by formal governing bodies such as the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)and therefore represent a significant risk over which, as a farmer, you have very limited control. Similarly, wider policies on a national level can have a big impact on farming, as has become pronouncedly clear to many UK farmers since Brexit.
The weather plays an important role in agriculture, with the yearly cycles of planting, growth and harvest intrinsically connected to the climate and changing of seasons. When the harmony of this delicate system is disrupted, your farm’s productivity is put at risk. With extreme weather events becoming increasingly frequent, the risk posed to farming businesses only gets larger, so adapting to resist climate change is high on the priority list.
Which of these risks poses the greatest threat to your farming business?