New entrants to farming who want to borrow money need to be able to show they can follow a clear business plan, a senior agricultural banker has said.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on Wednesday, Oliver McEntyre from Barclays UK acknowledged that it is extremely difficult for young people to start farming from scratch.
“The challenge that banks have with new entrants is the asset base which is required to get into practical agriculture is usually very large,” he said.
McEntyre, who is director of national agricultural strategy at Barclays, said an inability to demonstrate “experience and a track record” is a key issue that holds new entrants back when they look to borrow money.
“Banking, I’m afraid, is a risk business. If we get someone fresh out of agricultural college who asks us for half a million quid, the answer is probably going to be ‘no’ because they don’t have that track record and they can’t demonstrate their ability to deliver a business plan,” he said.
She produces 150 varieties of vegetables and her business, called the Wonky Parsnip
The online event heard the story of Laura Brady, a vegetable grower who farms a two-acre plot in Kent. She produces 150 varieties of vegetables and her business, called the Wonky Parsnip, mainly sells direct to high-end restaurants in London.
“Because she has a track record of running her business over this past four years, she is going to be in a great position to get some support [from a bank],” McEntyre said.