Farming column: It’s good to talk
I’ve spent much of the past few weeks on the phone to CLA members; the farmers, landowners and rural businesses who represent the broad spectrum of Shropshire’s rural economy.
We have to face up to the fact that some businesses will not survive this crisis, and will need all the support they can get to manage the situation.
However, I have nothing but admiration for the many who have been able to rise to these unprecedented challenges and simply got on with it.
Some offered holiday cottages, events venues, barns, cold storage and land for key worker accommodation and a variety of medical use. Rural businesses changed routes to market overnight to embrace online and telephone ordering, home deliveries and genuinely contactless transactions, rather than the traditional browsing and shopping experience.
It came as no surprise to hear that, from the very beginning, many landlords came to immediate agreements with tenants to ease the rent burden, in a variety of innovative but effective ways.
Everyone wants their business tenants to succeed. They are the lifeblood of many estates, often enjoying a relationship developed over generations to become part of an extended family. There’s never been a more important time to talk to each other.
Mark Riches, Director, CLA Midlands
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