"THE farmland market in North Yorkshire has certainly been very buoyant since the first lockdown ended," says Andrew Dickin of Robin Jessop Ltd. "As a company we have found that Covid-19 has not deterred buyers. The demand remains firm and we have successfully marketed and sold three good commercial farms and a significant block of pasture land.

"The demand for good parcels of land and commercial farms has remained partly due to low interest rates and the fact that farmland is still seen as a safe haven. There is growing demand from forestry investors who are wanting to invest in marginal land with the ever-growing media coverage around 'carbon capture' and 'carbon neutral'. This has driven up values significantly."

Village Farm in Ellerbeck, Northallerton, was the first of three farms to be marketed by Robin Jessop Ltd. There was plenty of interest from buyers in the farm, with significant re-investment from the sale of development land, local interest and buyers from out of the area.

Rennie Farm in East Harlsey, Northallerton, the second of the three farms, was launched placed on the market in early summer. Local demand was strongly fuelled by established farming families wanting to expand. More than 50 viewings took place and over 20 offers were received. "Never has the demand for a farm been so competitive," says Andrew.

The third and final farm to be launched was Brogden Farm in Danby Wiske, Northallerton. Again, there was good demand locally and stiff competition from throughout the North-East. The sale of Brodgen Farm was finally concluded by a private telephone auction. The successful purchaser was relocating from Cumbria.

"September saw the launch of 550 acres of rough grazing situated West of Hawes," continues Andrew. "This block of bare land attracted potential purchasers from all over the United Kingdom. The diverse range of buyers comprised hedge fund managers, forestry companies, UK charities, PLC’s, breweries and large arable farmers. The driving force behind this demand was companies and businesses wanting land to offset their carbon footprints. Receiving 15 offers for the land certainly demonstrates that carbon capture and carbon sequestration is at the forefront of people’s minds.

"Previous years have not seen this much activity in the farmland market. There has been very little land marketed publicly over the past couple of years, so the demand has outstripped supply.

"There has been significant variations in prices paid, but generally the farmland market has proved resilient during a very turbulent period in the UK economy. Even factors such as uncertainties over Brexit, changes to the Common Agricultural Policy and the poor harvest of 2020, which has reduced farm incomes, have not deterred potential purchasers.

"In view of the changes to the Common Agricultural Policy and the lack of clarity surrounding future support for farmers there is a chance that more land may come to the market in 2021. However, the variation in the prices paid will continue to exist and will largely depend on the size, location and nature of the holding."