Contingencies for unexpected death

Plans should be in place within farm businesses in case the owner or a partner dies suddenly, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has suggested.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said a common issue that can occur after an unexpected death relates to the names listed on the farm business ID, herd number and milk licence.

“Having more than one name on these farm documents as well as bank accounts, helps to make sure that after a death the farm business can operate as close to normal as possible without creating extra struggles for the family at an already very difficult time,” he said.

Other complications can arise if a farmer passes away without having a will in place.

“I encourage those who have not yet made a will to have discussions with those who are involved with the business in some way and make sure their intentions are known,” Irvine added.

Warning on tax bills

Farmers have been urged to plan early for tax bills that are due to be paid in January 2023.

Philip Kirkpatrick from accountancy firm Old Mill said the 2021/22 financial year was “fairly profitable” for most farming sectors.

However, with high input costs squeezing margins, paying tax bills next year could put a further drain on cashflow.

“Be aware that cash is king, so make sure you budget for January 2023 tax payments. Get your accounts done early so you really understand what’s coming,” said Kirkpatrick.

Bird control campaign

A group of wildlife campaigners is urging people from outside NI to respond to a review about wild bird control licences for NI farms. Wild Justice, a Northamptonshire-based conservation group, wants people from Britain to respond to a DAERA consultation on general licences in NI.

General licences allow for certain birds to be controlled without applying for an individual permit.

Views are sought from the public on including 12 birds on the general licence which can be used to protect crops and livestock.

Wild Justice wants seven of these birds removed from the licence, namely Magpies, Jackdaws, House Sparrows, Starlings and three types of Gulls.

The group said it could “live with” five species remaining on the licence, including different species of Crows, Pigeons, and Rook.