Grain merchant collapse adds to farming’s woes – Brian Henderson

On top of the Brexit, new agricultural policy, tackling the climate emergency and the general lack of farm profitability, concentration of power in the supply chain has been a growing worry in the sector.

And the recent shock news that one of the countries long-established grain merchants, Alexander Inglis and Son, had gone into administration has only added to the latter of these problems, with major restructuring across the grain trade seeing the marketing of malting barley in Scotland concentrated into ever fewer hands.

The ramifications for those now caught up in the complicated process of registering as a creditor to recoup some of their losses from the Inglis collapse are immediate and obvious.

And the complex relationship which often exists between farmers and the bodies with which they trade – which can cover everything from signed and dated contracts through verbal agreements and ‘understandings’, often involving delayed payments and even barter deals – means that there is still no clear indication of the level of losses across the industry – but there can be little doubt that they will be substantial.

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