Law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn couldn't have timed its rural event, which it co-hosted with chartered accountants, Greaves West & Ayre, with greater precision. It took place the morning after the polls for the European referendum closed, resulting in a winning combination: a great turnout, and an energised audience, poised to glean as much insight as possible on the unfolding Brexit story from the expert panel of speakers.
In full Highland regalia, RHASS vice president, and Development Director at Müller Wiseman Dairies, Sandy Wilkie, got the morning's proceedings off to a flying start by welcoming guests, which included farmers, food manufacturers, land agents and other professionals. He complimented Shepherd and Wedderburn, "These guys are good!" he said. "They updated their website and published this new Brexit briefing - all before breakfast."
Second up was Andy MacIver, political strategist and commentator from communications agency, Message Matters. Andy's authoritative and thoroughly entertaining account of the emerging political landscape was impressive, particularly so as it was delivered and shaped on the fly in response to political news updates via his mobile phone.
In the face of uncertainty, Andrew Ayre, Partner, Greaves, West & Ayre provided the audience with rays of light. In his presentation, 'Reasons to be Cheerful' he described the many opportunities available to rural businesses. Explaining the new rules on nominating pension fund beneficiaries, he said that, "pensions should be viewed as part of the business." He stressed that farming diversification should always be considered, whether that means taking a punt, for instance, on buying shares - maybe in formula milk manufacturing companies, in the hope that the relaxation of China's one child policy, will yield a profit, or just buying premium bonds as an alternative to winter feed.
Colin Innes, Partner at Shepherd and Wedderburn discussed planning considerations for diversification in the rural economy, taking time to share his unique insight into the issues of woodlands and wildlife protection affecting planning applications By way of example of the issues that can be involved, he referred to the successful planning application for the T in the Park music festival staged in the vicinity of pair of nesting ospreys.
Peter Misselbrook, Head of Rural Property at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said, "Our breakfast event at the Show really was timely. We all woke up last Friday morning to an unexpected 'leave' vote and the uncertainties generated by that. So it was good for the firm to be on the scene to offer advice, possibly steady nerves and advise on next steps. We were extremely fortunate in having such a fantastic line-up of speakers, each of whom provided fresh insight and ideas to current issues."
Shepherd and Wedderburn will also be sponsoring World of Fishing demonstrations at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Gamefair Show at Scone Palace, which take place between the 1st and 3rd of July.