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Wed 1 April 2020
Spring is a favourite season for many people involved in agriculture, it brings the first growth of grass, spring drilling and the turning out of cattle after a long, wet winter. Spring this year is very different from what we will have all expected, over the last few weeks, our personal and business lives have seen dramatic changes to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.
At Stags Farm Agency, George Alder Partner and head of Farm Agency comments “we have had to put a number of new instructions on hold while we all comply with the Government measures to combat Coronavirus. This has not meant that we have had to ‘shut up shop’, we have just had to find new ways of working including from home”.
Typically, the months of April and May are the Farm Agency’s busiest period either getting sale particulars ready for marketing or undertaking farm inspections to provide marketing advice. However, given the new social distancing measures we are unable to undertake a physical inspection or host any viewings. So our advice to clients is to wait until the measures have been lifted and we are back to normal.
What if your property is already on the market?
For existing sales, we are working closely with vendors, buyers and their solicitors to find a way to make sales work. The Government has urged everyone involved in a sale to work within and adapt to new restrictions around social distancing and self-isolation. To-date we have not had to cancel any transactions and for land sales, it is business as usual. In one particular case, working closely with the solicitors and the bank we have been able to exchange contracts and defer completion until the ‘stay at home’ measures have been lifted, but this did create difficulties for actual use of the land, so we had to think outside of the box and grant a licence for the buyer to have the use of the land to put in new crops and undertake grassland management. This has involved a huge amount of work, as it involved working with the bank to ensure the loan offers could be extended and no issues were created with the legal title.
Not being able to undertake any physical inspections or viewings has allowed us time to pick up the phone and rebuild links with buyers who will be looking for farms once the marketplace allows. This has been an interesting process and in many cases people have been very pleased to receive a call and are keen to chat while they remain at home, adhering to social distancing rules. The general feeling has been that people are keen to relocate to the South West drawn by good climate, nearby moorland and coast as well as favourable farming outlook.
Other areas of agriculture
Across the firm, we remain busy and working hard, in particular our livestock team continue to run Honiton Collection centre, South Molton and Tavistock livestock markets. While the ‘online timed auctions for farm machinery is drawing a lot of interest - here is a link to the current sale: Online Auction
For any advice on farms and land in the South West, please feel free to call Stags Farm Agency on 01392 680059 to speak to one of our team.