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Stackyard News Jan 07

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Semex Conference to Tackle the ‘Real Estate’ of Dairy Farming

Milk producers attending the 2007 Semex Dairy Conference (14-16 Jan) will receive a much-needed New Year vote of confidence when keynote speaker Charles Dudgeon of leading international property consultancy, Savills, takes to the floor.

Charles Dudgeon

Charles Dudgeon

Reporting renewed buoyancy within the UK agricultural property market with land prices on the rise and the majority of properties being bought as going concerns by “coalface producers”, including dairy farmers, Mr Dudgeon states that despite the current gloom in the industry the market is showing that there are reasons to be more optimistic.

“Property trends, such as the volume of land moving, the purpose it is bought for and the value it is realising, are key indicators of the strength of the agri-industry and currently the signs are of an agricultural industry enjoying renewed optimism, confidence and anticipated profitability,” he said, speaking ahead of the Semex Conference, at which he will address some of the UK’s most progressive dairy farmers.

“We are seeing real growth in demand for land parcels and working farms including dairy farms and, significantly, this is from practicing producers wanting to grow their existing businesses and secure land for succession. In addition to domestic buyers, there is a lot of interest from international buyers, particularly Danish and Irish producers, for whom the availability in the UK of sizeable ring-fenced properties at good value and with less red tape is proving an attractive proposition.

“Ultimately, the fact that UK land is now being strongly competed for by existing farmers against the strategic investor and returning much better prices is evidence of a palpable new confidence in British farming, with experienced producers optimistic that there are returns to be made now and in the future.”

In addition to signalling greater positivity within the industry, in line with the Semex Conference’s ‘no spin’ approach to informing and supporting its profit-focused delegates, Charles Dudgeon will also focus on advising farmers on how to maximise non-farming development opportunities on their land.

Peter Arthur, Marketing Manager of Semex UK, said that this year’s Conference would very much focus on ‘keeping it real and relevant’. “Our delegates want sound business advice and the opportunity to get answers to tough questions. The reality is that, as support is further withdrawn from farmers through EC policies, there is a need to look closer to home for solutions. Better real estate management by, for example, capitalizing on unused or unmanaged parcels of land and buildings, has the potential to release £hundreds of thousands of capital to augment low product price returns. This is an area that we know farmers will be keen to learn more about and in Charles Dudgeon from Savills we have undoubtedly one of the industry’s best experts on hand to outline the realities and opportunities.”

The Semex Dairy Conference, now in its 17th year, will take place from the 14th to 16th of January in the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow.

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