Farmers have been told they must embrace innovation and keep progressing their businesses if they are to "ride a storm" of economic and climate challenges.

About 60 farmers from Norfolk and Suffolk joined a discussion event in Halesworth, jointly hosted by the Suffolk Coastal branch of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and Norfolk-based accountancy firm Lovewell Blake.

Two speakers from agricultural consultancy Ceres Rural outlined potential ways for farm businesses to stay afloat amid "waves" of climate, economic and market turmoil - including taking advantage of available grant opportunities.

“We are always going to have different waves coming towards us, of different scales,” said Jason Cantrill, a partner at the firm.

“Having the ability to adapt, change and navigate - that is always very important.

“It’s important that we stay motivated. We can’t let others get on top of us and we need to be innovative and keep progressing the business."

Mr Cantrill said the main challenges of the past three years - including uncertainty caused by global events, soaring input costs and fluctuating commodity prices - had been exacerbated by the post-Brexit phase-out of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) subsidies.

His colleague Katie Crawford said farmers must assess all options, including taking land out of food production to take advantage of new environmental incentives and stewardship schemes.

“You have to look at your gross margins, and compare what you are doing in terms of what you could do under stewardship," she said.

“Can you justify taking some land out of production?  Can you justify having your own combine?  Do you want to start looking at contract farming arrangements?

"These aren’t decisions you want to rush into, but the more data you can get about what it’s costing you, the more informed decisions you can take."

Ms Crawford said farming has always has had to adapt to survive – but the current situation required it to become "even more focused, more technically adept".

“We are going to have some difficult times that are going to require some very grown-up and difficult decisions," she said.

"We have really got to ride a storm, but we don’t want to be that person who’s coming over the fence without his horse.  We have to try and stay in partnership with one another and survive for the future."