Money for dairy farmers
Money is readily available to help dairy farmers acquire land – provided the offer is correct.
Speaking to farmers at the Dairy Show, Richard Nocton, of South West farm and rural agency Woolley & Wallis, said: "There is no shortage of funding available for the right deal."
So far 2012 had seen a significant shortage of land coming to the market, he said. This had kept land prices at a record high, even for the poorer-quality parcels, where sales have achieved almost £10,000 per acre.
Mr Nocton said: "Demand has been fuelled both by farmers buying additional land and investors seeking a safe shelter for their capital.
"There is equally an abundance of money about – a considerable amount of pure cash and again plenty of finance being made available by the banks and Agricultural Mortgage Company."
The consequence of readily available funds and a lack of supply was a pent-up demand for land and farms, he said.
But what did this mean for the dairy farmer?
Faced with very tight milk prices, increasing costs of bought-in feed and concentrates, combined with poor-quality silage and hay, any dairy farmer seeking to sell would be greeted with good news. There would be no difficulty selling all or part of the farm.
He added: "This year we have sold more land off market than to the open market.
"This not only clearly demonstrates the fierce demand but also allows the dairy farmer the dignity he desires – selling without the farming community knowing what he is doing."
For dairy farmers seeking to expand their holdings, the capital-wealthy investors are looking for someone to farm their land, as they had neither the time nor expertise to do it themselves.
"These investors were not farmers and did not know how to manage 100 acres of grassland," he explained. "They needed someone to farm that land in a professional manner."
Mr Nocton concluded: "Should a dairy farmer be wanting to either exit the industry or expand, the future is bright and positive."
Farming News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers