General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – changes to the rules around data protection, which came into force in May 2018, have created new responsibilities for businesses. AEA members need to have in place new processes and roles to comply with the new regulations or face stiffer penalties.
UK Agricultural Policy – for the last 40+ years, agricultural policy has largely been handled by Brussels through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the UK government having only a limited say in how CAP is implemented here. Once the UK leaves the EU, though, it will take on responsibility for farm policy. The decisions taken, whether they be in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast, could have a big impact on farm finances and, hence, on demand for farm machinery.
Exchange rates – the dramatic weakening of the pound since the Brexit vote has had a big impact on our industry, although the effect varies. For those exporting, their products have become more competitive, boosting sales for many. On the domestic market, though, rising prices of imports have squeezed consumer incomes and made machinery more expensive. This has hit sales of some kinds of outdoor power equipment. Farm equipment is also affected by rising prices but this is more than offset by the improved financial position of farmers, who have benefitted from better prices for their produce and increased support payments.