How to pass the Agriculture Competency of the RICS Rural APC

23 September, 2015

All candidates for the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Rural Assessment of Professional Competency (APC) must satisfy the examiners that they have a sound agricultural knowledge.  Three levels are specified and all candidates must achieve at least Level Two while some will opt for the higher Level Three.

What do we know about these requirements?  The RICS guide tells us that at Level Two we must demonstrate application of the principles and systems of practical farming methods.  This might involve questions on crop rotations, cultivations, general husbandry and marketing.  Animal welfare and record keeping can also be questioned, as well as the wide body of regulations which affect farming in one way or another.  Candidates are expected to know how to prepare detailed farm finance plans and budgets.

At the higher Level Three candidates are expected to have provided professional farm management advice (the provision of reasoned advice to stakeholders on the management and practical application of appropriate methods and requirements of farming, according to the guide).

Alongside all this, you are also expected to know about the utilization and cost of farm buildings.

Quite a tall order, but nevertheless essential knowledge for a rural surveyor who wishes to work for farmers and landowners while maintaining credibility with the client.

This is a professional examination and there is no substitute for direct experience and, just as important, intelligent engagement with the farming industry.  Regular reading of the trade press can help to imbue current market information and trends.

But even the best informed of candidates can struggle under examination conditions.  With a view to this we have developed a new web class with RICS Training, an Agriculture Competency Masterclass which will run on Friday 2 October at 12.00 for 90 minutes.  It won’t take you from zero to hero in that time, but it will help you to prepare soundly for the professional interview.  If any participants would like me to email me a copy of their agriculture submission at Levels 1, 2 and 3 if available I will happily consider them for anonymous inclusion in the class so you will get the benefit of direct feedback while adding to the value of the class for all participants.

The class costs no more than £30, less if you or your firm are a subscriber and details and bookings can be arranged here: RICS Agricultural Competency Masterclass

Disinherited? Don’t lose heart. Disinheriting? Take care …

28 July, 2015

‘Woman rejected by mother in will wins £164,000 inheritance’ according to the BBC’s headline.  Melita Jackson died on 29 June 2004 leaving her net estate of £486,000 to a selection of charities.  Melita had had little if anything to do with these charities during her lifetime.  Sadly Melita had fallen out with her only child, Heather Ilott.  The pair became estranged when Heather was 17 or 18 years old because Heather ran away with a man who was to become her husband and father of her five children.

Heather’s claim against the estate of her late mother has  reached its latest decision from the Court of Appeal having been up and down from County Court to High Court and back up again to the Court of Appeal (Ilott v Mitson CA [2015] EWCA Civ 797).  Mrs Ilott’s latest appeal was that an award against her mother’s estate of £50,000 was insufficient for her maintenance and the award should be increased.  The Court of Appeal has set aside the award and substituted its own award of £143,000 plus up to a further £20,000.  Why and how? Read the rest of this entry »

Inheritance Tax Residence Exemption: Even more smoke and mirrors from the 2015 Summer Budget

9 July, 2015

The fanfare for this Summer’s July Budget trumpeted the arrival of a £1 million IHT exemption for the family home.  The detail is not so clear cut.  Chancellor George Osborne has introduced a new residence exemption from IHT.  It works like this. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Budget 2015: Rural Points – More smoke and mirrors

9 July, 2015

The Inheritance Tax changes will be the headline grabbing feature for many rural property owners.  But is all what it seems?  A few other budget points also need attention if you’re interested in rural property and farming.

Business-wise the decision to set the Annual Investment Allowance at £200,000 permanently from January 2016 is important, and relatively welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Valuation Revision Tutorial for probationer agricultural valuers

2 July, 2015

Here are some slides I used in support of a very short valuation update for probationer members of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers at their examination tutorial held on 2 July 2015 in Aberystwyth

Strategy and the land manager

18 June, 2015

These slides provide an update on the survey I have been undertaking for my RAU 100 Club/RICS (Royal Agricultural University/Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Fellowship on the topic of strategy in rural estate management. The 151 respondents to date have been involved in the management of at least 1.973 million acres in the last year, and potentially up to 4 million acres. It’s therefore probably reasonable to claim a mid figure of 3 million acres, or at least 1 million hectares. Analysis continues but there are already some very interesting results.

Rural Valuation Update

9 June, 2015

Earlier this evening I met a group of valuers at Ludlow Livestock Market for a rural valuation update under the auspices of the RICS West Midlands CPD Foundation.  Here are the slides we discussed:


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