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Farming matters to Martin Wright. Martin joined us as a partner in our Swindon office last summer after 25 years with the NFU where he was running their influential Wotton Under Edge branch. His area included estates such as Badminton, Highgrove and Gatcombe and a great deal of agricultural activity.

Martin will periodically publish his thoughts on our website under the title Farming Matters when he feels he has something to say that is relevant or of interest  to our clients.

“The month of February saw a sudden and shocking increase in the number of farm fatalities – 10 deaths on farms in one month, including one child. That compares with an “average” of 3 deaths per month in a normal cycle. We would normally see around 30 – 40 deaths per year. This month’s cases include:

  • A farmer killed when unloading cattle from his vehicle.
  • A man run over by a telehandler.
  • A farm worker who died when he came into contact with his chainsaw during tree work.
  • A farmer crushed underneath a mini tractor & trailer that overturned on steep ground.
  • A worker killed by a falling straw bale whilst unloading.
  • A man killed when the farm vehicle he was repairing fell on him.
  • A 3 year old child killed when run over by a farm vehicle.

When conducting an insurance review a diligent broker should not shy away from raising these examples, highlighting the sad reality of what can all too easily go wrong. Employers’ Liability is a legal requirement and cover should always be in place if you employ anyone, even those employed on a casual or part time basis when you may feel it is inappropriate or unnecessary. If in doubt, we are always here to provide the correct advice.

Also, look at Public Liability indemnity limits. With court awards on the increase, £5m may easily not be sufficient any more and £10m could be more appropriate when you consider the different activities that take place on your land, such as livestock farming and the risk of straying that goes with it. You should also consider any other commercial activities that take place and the number of visitors that those may bring to your farm or estate.

The issue of Brexit is looming large for an industry that relies heavily on EU support. It goes without saying that farmers are anxious about the future and the financial implications for each sector. We intend to provide an insight in to our understanding of these implications as the story unfolds. Farming matters – watch this space!”