Be prepared to plan properly for the future and be wary of knee jerk reactions


Guest Article from Davidson & Robertson

Chris Edmunds, Director of Davidson & Robertson based in Cockermouth provides some thoughts on helping farmers and landowners to continue to thrive.

It has never more been essential to have a holistic view of your business, to plan properly for the future - be that to make your farmland more profitable, making your diversifications and environmental best practices work harder for you, or by looking at your plans for succession.

Carbon and Natural Capital

Clients are aware that there is a lot of chatter around ‘carbon and natural capital,’ but there is still lack of clarity on the way forward. Planting trees is not the only solution, and it is important to avoid a knee jerk reaction, and really important to understand where you are with your business in its entirety first. Carbon and Natural Capital continues to be a factor in Land Management, but care needs to be taken when looking at this as an asset, particularly around ownership and trading.

New and existing environmentally related grants also provide opportunity to add value, and with the Basic Payment Scheme reducing these grants, it is worth looking to see where value can be added. Deciding which scheme or grant to enter requires a good understanding of the business and what those involved want to achieve in the future.

As rural surveyors and consultants, we work across a wide range of sectors, not isolated work streams, and we have external consultants on hand. That means we have specialists with the right breadth of skills to help you add more value to your business. More and more frequently, we are helping clients review their property assets, and looking longer term at how they can generate income whilst securing a bright future for the land and the people who manage it.

“Once you know what you have, and understand its potential, you can work on opportunities in a more strategic way, creating a realistic and achievable plan that will deliver best value for you.”

Development opportunities

Linked to planning for the future – and with the changing landscape for agriculture, we are seeing an increasing demand from farmers and landowners looking for diversification and development opportunities. As a result, D&R has seen the growth of land coming to market with development potential and an increasing number of farmers and landowners looking for guidance on diversification and grant led projects for the future.

We are currently involved in 110+ sites across the business with a substantial number in Cumbria and South West Scotland. There are also opportunities to have a developer/promoter on board to best unlock potential and add value.

D&R Director Chris Edmunds heads the D&R Development team and carries out a wide range of strategic work for a variety of clients, Chris said “Farmers and property owners are certainly more willing to review their options, asking us for an experienced view to help develop a strategy that will work best for the longer term.

“We are finding landowners are keen to explore adding value to their land for housing and other development uses including renewables. It is a different income stream, and with the changing agricultural landscape and grant support, we are able to provide strategic advice to clients. We can do this because we can tap into skill sets right across our business with a range of workstreams including assessing development opportunities, land management, utilities, valuations & sales.”

Supporting Chris in this area are Associate Director Stuart Lobb and Associate Paul Robinson, both of whom have experience in planning regulations and property legal systems.

Davidson and Robertson also have expertise in Renewables including Solar, Battery Storage and Wind which all continue to be very active once again; and can often provide real opportunities for excellent returns.

For advice and support for your farming business please get in touch with our Agricultural Accounting Specialists on 0808 144 5575 or email

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