Scottish Farming market stands firm despite regulatory unrest

by Bell Ingram

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Bell Ingram LogoFarmers in Scotland are remaining committed and upbeat despite the unrest caused by regulation changes and the impending referendum, according to a land and property expert.

The disruption in the industry caused by recent Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) announcements was expected to result in a number of farmers selling their land and leaving the country or even changing occupation.

However, Malcolm Taylor, Director of Rural Land Management at Bell Ingram, says that so far the signs are good for the Scottish marketplace with no significant rise in the number of farms being sold.

He said: “With the amount of disruption caused by the announcements CAP and subsidy changes we, like others, had expected to see more farms being put up for sale. But, so far, the market appears to be undeterred by it and the number of arable plots for sale seems to be fairly normal.

“We also expected to see poorer quality farms, but that doesn’t appear to be the case at present either as we are seeing a normal stream of good quality farms going to market.

“We have two large arable working farms on the market at the moment, Seaside Farm in Errol and Balmalcolm in Angus, which have attracted a great deal of interest from both sides of the border. Another farm site we had at Birkenbush near Forfar, which was on sale for offers over £1.9m, is currently under offer.”

The Scottish Government announced changes to the CAP in June, which were primarily aimed at improving the way EU payments are distributed.

One significant change was the removal of payments for so-called “slipper farmers”, who do not use the land for agricultural purposes, while another was further support for sheep farmers and beef producers.Rhynie Farm

But those opposed to the new guidelines argued it would make it unaffordable for many crop farmers, particularly in the South East of Scotland.

Another factor expected to take its toll on the industry was the anxiety caused by the upcoming referendum and the potential impact of a Yes vote, but Malcolm has not seen any signs that Scots are trying to leave farming and continues to see investment from South of the border.

He added: “The lack of clarity on what a Yes vote would mean for farmers has been reported on heavily, but it does not seem to be putting investors off.

“We’re still seeing investment from non-farmers who are interested in high-quality farms that offer versatile arable land and demand from new generations of farmers who still believe it is a career and lifestyle they wish to choose.”

Balmalcolm – at Kinskettle in the Howe of Fife – offers a highly productive block of Class 2 & 3 arable land extending to 160 acres. It is being offered for sale at offers over £1.5m. The site, which fronts the main road, offers excellent access and yield.

Seaside Farm – on sale at offers over £1.45m – comprises a highly productive arable block extending to 108 hectares, interspersed with former runways of the disused Errol Airfield, together with around 35 acres of reed beds on the north bank of the River Tay. The reed beds are home to a range of protected bird species including Reed Bunting, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Grass Warbler and Black Tailed Godwit. A modern purpose-built grain handling facility is included in the sale.
Established 112 years ago, Bell Ingram has 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices, including chartered surveyors, estate and forestry managers, architects, green energy specialists and estate agents.

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