The pleasures of farmland
Adrian Cannon, rural partner at Tayler & Fletcher, extols the very real rewards of owning farmland
As we move into autumn, one of the best seasons in the Cotswolds, we look at the pleasures of owning farmland.
The colours turn from the golden yellows of wheat and barley to the red brown earths of the Cotswold brash as the ploughs turn the furrow, or the seed drill plants the next crop. But what, we ask, are the pleasures of owning farmland?
There is the ability to own that little part of England that every Englishman wants to possess. So, are there barriers in owning farmland? No, not really – there is regulation, but much of the paperwork can be undertaken by your local agent or farm consultant, and the regulation is there to protect the valuable countryside.
What are the advantages of owning land? There is the tax advantage of a nil rate for inheritance tax; if the structure is set up correctly you can pass on your wealth down through your family. There is the ability to create a legacy and watch the land not only change over the seasons, but over the years.
One of the many rewarding aspects I have been involved in is the planting woodlands in the farm woodland scheme and seeing them grow, capturing carbon and introducing a wealth of wildlife onto the farm. And, yes, there are still grants to support such schemes with the government looking to support the environment, soils and air quality now more than ever.
So, what will the income be in the future? Well, as noted above, grants will persist, with government commitment until 2027, but industry is beginning to support its own initiatives, from river catchment projects to renewables. It is undeniable that it does not produce a large return on investment, but to be part of the rural community brings its own rewards.
One of the key pleasures to owning farmland is that of growing food, from cereals to livestock. Whilst there is some loss of sight, with Brexit, from the government that we still need food, production from farmland is key. Joint ventures with neighbours or contractors allow the landowner to enter into the world of farming whilst not necessitating the investment in machinery or stock immediately. Again, expertise in the field can support you through this entry, from budgets to cashflow and the legal documents for such agreements. As no two farms are the same, with each farm having it’s own diversity and an owner’s objectives being characterised by their aspirations, then each farm will end up with a different strategy, leading to the diversity of the Cotswolds.
Of course the key advantage remains that farmland is a secure asset, a limited resource and one which much enjoyment can be derived from. Everything we do at Tayler & Fletcher tries to maximise the pleasure in achieving this on behalf of our farming clients.