The agriculture sector is of major importance to the UK's economy. Agricultural production continues to increase, as does the economic contribution of farming. However, rising input costs - Defra figures highlight the rising costs for feed, fuel and fertiliser - have reduced Total Income From Farming (TIFF) in real terms. Commodity prices look set to continue to head in an upwards direction and the demand from India and China for animal feed is leading to a rise in grain prices worldwide.
Whilst there is an inevitable air of caution amongst farmers and landowners, the sector has been relatively buoyant recently. Land prices are holding up and businesses that are making money, are able to invest. Banks are able to lend confidently to farms and landowners while there is also a trend for refinancing. This, coupled with renewable energy projects and bio-mass potential and other diversification is resulting in high levels of activity (although these have slowed down through lockdown).
It is clear to us that those in the sector are exploring diversification options and these are not solely limited to renewables and land flooding schemes. Some businesses have abandoned farming partly or even completely as they see the opportunities to make more money by developing leisure and tourism attractions. Hence the rise of visitor farms, ice cream parlours, farm shops and shooting and fishing facilities. As farmers let or sell their former farm buildings for industrial or other purposes, multi-million pound deals involving vast areas of land are being struck.
Our sector experience
Rollits agricultural sector experience dates backs to the firm's formation in 1841. Our historical connection to Hull led to us working with agricultural companies in the city as wealth poured in to farms from trawler-owner families and other successful businesses. Rollits acts for many farmers and land owners and fully understands the sector's key issues. We now work with farmers and landowners across Yorkshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and throughout the country. We are recognised by Chambers and The Legal 500 as one of Yorkshire's best agriculture firms, rating extremely highly in the last ten years.
Our agricultural clients are extremely varied, from 100-acre tenant farmers to large corporate farming freeholders with well in excess of 3,000 acres, and from significant pig and other livestock farms to horticultural growers. We are also trusted to act on behalf of Bank's interests within the sector. Work in the sector specifically relates to land and farm sales, purchases, tenancies and land transfers, freehold and leasehold property transactions, inheritance and other planning, succession issues, mergers and other commercial deals, public right-of-way issues, the sale of entitlements and, due to increasing diversification, sporting rights and mineral rights. Generally the same laws that apply to agriculture also apply to horticulture. Farmers are business people and therefore turn to us for guidance on commercial agreements and corporate and partnership agreements, as well as matters relating to tax and liability claims. Our work in this sector is growing both from our existing client base and from recommendations.
Why use Rollits?
In addition to our long sector-specific history and fine pedigree, Rollits' quality lawyers have a demonstrable dedication to the job, vast experience and sound local and regional knowledge. As a multi-disciplinary law firm we are also able to offer comprehensive help and advice in all legal areas. Whilst our role can enable farmers to face challenges and opportunities head-on, deal with the need to become more efficient and reduce the workforce, we can also help land owners diversify. To that end we can offer planning advice, play our part in negotiating options and lease agreements for renewables projects, for instance, and our commercial property department can provide assistance in the business purchase of buildings with development potential. We genuinely believe that our expertise in agriculture is unique in the region.
‘Fantastic communicators, always available and calls are always returned promptly. Excellent sector knowledge.’
The UK Legal 500, 2020 edition
‘Neil Franklin and his team are very affable and always available. They have great agri-industry knowledge and when others aren’t up to the job, you can count on Rollits.’
The UK Legal 500, 2020 edition
- Basic Payment Schemes
- Agri Environment Schemes
- Tenancies and issues relating to the landlord and tenant
- Land acquisitions and disposals
- Contracting arrangements
- Company and Partnership Formation
- Pipelines etc. (including the proposed carbon capture scheme)
- Wind turbines, solar PV and other renewables
- Sporting Rights
- Rights of way issues
- Debt Collection
- Dispute Resolution
- Banking and Finance
- Estate and Succession
- Wills and Probate
- Asset Protection
- Family disputes and divorce
- Health and Safety
Get in touch
To discuss our services, please contact us.