It is now two months since I issued my last statement in respect of how we, at Thomas Westcott, are adapting our working practices during COVID-19. Those two months seem to have flown by. There has been so much Government guidance for businesses, all of which needed to be reviewed and put into practice, while also prioritising the health and safety of our teams and making sure everyone we work with is protected to the maximum. At Thomas Westcott we have taken every piece of information published by the Government, reviewed and summarised it for our own business needs, and also for our clients.
We continue to be available for all our clients and contacts. As ever, we are very much ‘By Your Side. On Your Side’, just a little more remotely than normal. Our clients have benefited from our regular COVID-19 technical updates, weekly topical webinars and general assistance with grant applications, advice on furlough, assistance with loan applications. In fact, we have successfully completed more than 400 Job Retention Scheme applications for our clients. We remain committed to ensuring the continuity of our services to you and doing all we can to be there for you.
Behind the scenes we are, of course, working on plans to open our offices and ensure everything is in place from a health & safety viewpoint to protect both you and our teams. In the meantime, we are focusing on making everything as smooth as possible. Please contact us using your normal office contact number and your call will be answered. In addition, all of our partners’ mobile numbers are on our website. If you wish to drop off your records, please call us and this can be arranged.
To help you during this time, we will be posting Coronavirus related content on our Insights page, which includes useful information to help individuals and all types of businesses get advice as to what actions to take as this situation develops. This will be updated daily but in addition, please do call us for assistance. We are here to help and to support you through these challenging times.
Shona Godefroy, Managing Partner
The outbreak of the Coronavirus is starting to impact on farms and the situation is changing daily. When the outbreak first occurred many thought that farming would be relatively safe, with milk contracts having performed well in recent times and indeed some buyers putting prices up.
What this time should teach us all is that businesses of all kinds are reliant on all parts of the supply chain; from primary producer through to the end consumer to work well. Major changes at any point will impact on those both up and down the food chain.
In a crisis there is usually a ‘knee jerk’ reaction before markets settle at a less extreme position. However, the big problem for farming is that the commodities produced are often perishable and part of a long production chain that cannot be sped up or slowed down quickly, meaning that produce once it is ready needs to be sold.
Looking at individual commodities;
Milk is a huge part of the South West farming landscape. A number of local buyers have lost their markets at this time as a result of the service sector, café and restaurant trades all being forced to close. Whilst it could be assumed that the milk would be consumed elsewhere we are seeing a significant shortfall in demand. With milk production normally beginning to run up to peak production there is a real issue for many farms. Some dairies have decreased their milk prices and some have also delayed payment taking payment terms to 45 days to try and cope with this to avoid unsold milk.
Given difficult markets, what actions should individual farmers be taking to minimise the disruption to their farms?
We are here to support you during these unprecedented times. If you have any queries or need any advice, please do not hesitate to contact me or your local Thomas Westcott representative
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