THE sale of two Tynedale farms reflects the demand in local agriculture, despite the uncertainties of Brexit, according to local agriculture surveyors.

Thirty five-hectare Pasture House Farm in Broomley, which had an original guide price of £1,200,000, and the 342-hectare Espershields Farm in Kiln Pit Hill, with an original guide price of £2,500,000, were both sold in February this year on the open market.

Adam Barrass, rural chartered surveyor and practice manager at Vickers & Barrass, who oversaw the sale of both farms, said the properties attracted considerable interest from both existing farmers and those simply keen to invest in agriculture.

Adam added that the deals reflected wider demand than supply during the first quarter of 2019, even though many local farmers continued to balance their businesses in the face of an uncertain economic outlook and a lack of Brexit clarity.

“Well equipped farms and agricultural land continue to attract interest from both local and regional purchasers as demand outstrips supply, although values remain variable depending on location and land type,” said Adam.

“We are seeing strong demand for well-equipped farms with purchasers ready to buy on or off the market. Both these latest sales received considerable interest despite the uncertainty with Brexit.

“We wanted to ensure that the owners secured the best deals possible, which is why the deal was completed through the open market.”

Adam also said that as farming businesses looked to plan for future changes to subsidies he expected to see an increase in diversification projects.

“The Government has guaranteed the same level of subsidy funding through to 2022. and will continue to support the current schemes,” he said.

“However, looking ahead a few years to the new environmental scheme which will offer ‘public money for public goods’, I would advise farmers to start looking at their business/businesses now to ensure it will be resilient in the face of subsidy reductions.”

Until the UK formally leaves the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy remains in place while the phasing out period for the Basic Payment Scheme is expected from 2021- 2027.

“Farmers are now increasingly looking at their options to boost incomes in these tough times,” Adam said. “But pursuing a restructuring, or a potential sale always requires specialist knowledge and professional help in confidence, from people who are proactively monitoring the changing policy positions.”