Farmers should make the most of the next few years as they are likely to be the most stable and profitable for a while, experts have warned.
Speaking at a recent meeting in Dartmouth Andrew Vickery, head of rural services at accountancy firm Old Mill, said that farmers were likely coming into a period of greater stability.
Farmers should take the opportunity to get their accounts in order as managing tax and paying off debt would be critical for many.
Now is the right time to think about business structure, succession planning, auto-enrolment pensions, capital disposals and gifts, according to Mr Vickery.
He said: "Look for the positives, but be realistic.
“Agriculture is unlikely to be top of the list in terms of policy change for the Government, therefore the status quo is likely to be maintained.
"Farmers should therefore take advantage of the next three to four years and think about what to do after 2020.
"There is no room for complacency. There is plenty to be done before 2020, that will be more difficult after.”
Although the spring budget did not bring any significant changes, farmers should plan for the reduction in Corporation tax from 20 per cent to 17 per cent by 2020.
The current agricultural climate presents an ideal time for farmers to fulfil their personal aspirations, according to Stuart Coombe, rural planner at Old Mill.
He said: "Question your priorities and whether the farm can support you and the next generation, and assess whether you are paying too much tax.
“Drill down to what you need to do, what is already in place and how changes to the industry may affect your plans.
“Keep things in review, even if you get to where you want to be.”
Paul Blundell, relationship director rural services at HSBC, believes the next few years are an opportunity for farmers to make best use of profits.
He said: “What farmers do with any profits is very important, whether paying off debt or putting cash aside for the future.
“Advisers have never been more important but do question whether your consultant is being realistic.
“HSBC predicts that inflation will reach three per cent by the end of the year, while interest rates are unlikely to change before 2019.
"There has been a spike in commodity and milk prices which is really positive for the industry.
"This is therefore a time to make money and deal with it sensibly.”
Land values in Devon were likely to stabilise and only see small growth rates of two to three per cent over the next few years, suggested George Alder, head of farm agency at Stags. Investing in land was therefore still a safe bet, and farmers could also look to convert old buildings but should be aware of planning regulations as they were still complicated.
Alister King-Smith, head of planning at Stags, said: “Applications for new builds are becoming more onerous for landowners, so they must think and plan ahead and work with local stakeholders.”