Meet the people behind Berrys – Mark Lord

Published September 5th, 2017

This week we are interviewing Mark Lord, who has recently joined Berrys as Business consultant. Mark, who has previously worked for Lloyds Bank has over 2 decades of experience within the agricultural sector and helps clients with appraising their business, finance requests and business plans.

What changes have you seen in the industry over your career and what are your expectations for the future?
The biggest change from a financial perspective has been the tighter regulations imposed on the Banking sector since 2008. It’s no longer a case that a strong asset base can persuade a bank to lend to the agricultural sector, the ability to service the borrowing is absolutely vital now. As far as agriculture is concerned, the biggest change would have to be the average size of a farming unit with operators having grown their businesses primarily to benefit from economies of scale.

While investors have traditionally considered residential property as the first choice, commercial property has become an increasingly lucrative option and many farmers have identified its appeal and looked to diversify into this area.  Do you have any recommendations for anyone considering this area for investment?
For those farmers who have spare cash or who can leverage against their asset base there can be good opportunities if there are good quality tenants available with returns much greater on commercial property than on farming assets. My view here is that a cautious approach is necessary as commercial property market has historically always been one of the first things to suffer in a recession.

What advice could you give to businesses starting out?
Know your marketplace and your sector inside out.

Look at the potential risks as well as the benefits.

Know where the sensitivities are to your profit margins and what you can do to manage these.

Succession is regularly a big talking point in the industry but it can be difficult for farming families to know where to start with resolving it.  What would you say is a good first step?
Identify what everybody’s long term goals are.

What does each and every one want from the business in the long term?

Without knowing this, it is difficult to see how any plan can be successful and acceptable for every party concerned.

If you have any business related queries for Mark, please don’t hesitate to contact him.