MMS seminar explores looming changes for contractors

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Changes to red diesel regulations, new machinery grants and how to work successfully with your contractor are just some of the topics being covered in a seminar at the Midlands Machinery Show.

Legislation for red diesel is changing next April, and while agriculture will retain red access, many sectors will lose their red diesel fuel tax entitlement, says Jill Hewitt, chief executive at NAAC. “We have been involved in the consultation process, but nothing is finalised yet – we are waiting on the detail which we hope to share at the Show.”

An exciting prospect for contractors is potential new machinery grant funding. “This is massive for contractors because up until Brexit they have been excluded from applying for grants, particularly for machinery,” she explains.

“This will really level the playing field for contractors. We don’t know what exactly will be included in the grant, but it’s likely to be elements which are good for soil, like minimum tillage equipment.

This will also mean that contractors will be able to get funding to be more innovative – they will be able to get ahead and invest in the latest technology. It’s a real recognition that contractors are a vital part of UK agriculture.”

This is particularly relevant as over 90% of farmers use contractors, says Mrs Hewitt, who will be joined in the seminar with renowned contractor and NAAC chairman, Matt Redman. “With the decline of subsidies, I think more farmers are going to be looking to contractors rather than investing in machinery themselves,” she says.

Having a good relationship with between farmer and contractor is undoubtably important. “It’s a partnership, it’s all about communication – sharing information is really key for safety too.”

With such fundamental changes ahead in the contracting and agricultural industry, it’s vital to keep up to date, says show manager Elizabeth Halsall. “We hope our informative seminars will provide visitors an opportunity to get an answer to any questions they may have about these important topics.”