The annual RICS Rural Land Conference takes place at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester on 21 June 2012. Richard Benyon, Defra minister for environment and fisheries is due to open the conference. Speakers from our leading rural surveying and legal firms, government, CLA, Andersons Consulting, and the RICS rural partner universities will address a range of topics including CAP reform, tree safety, rural housing and the Localism Act, policy and legal updates. There’s a link to the conference details and booking arrangements at the end of this post.
I have been asked to speak about future challenges facing RICS rural members, and I would like to ask for your help. Please could you complete the poll below and offer me a comment or two on what you see as key factors in shaping demand from our clients over the next ten years.
At the time of the last CAP reforms I prepared a paper for RICS on the subject of rural scenario planning, in which we categorised the countryside into: Primary Production Countryside (farming for food and fibre, forestry, minerals); entrepreneurial countryside (the web of mainly small businesses which comprise the rural economy) and what we called ‘Stakeholder Countryside’.
The significance of these categories was that each demanded a different set of skills, and exemplifed a different generic strategy. Primary production for example focussed on cost leadership and attention to technical detail; whereas Stakeholder Countryside had a strong ‘differentiation’ focus in order to mark the differences from other initiative in search of competitive funding. This helfpully enabled us to structure our thinking about the future calls on members of our profession at a strategic level – even if the concept did seem somewhat esoteric at the time to many practitioners understandly committed to their day to day client requirements.
Since then we have also seen the increasing recognition of, and emphasis upon, the role of ecosystem services and their valuation. In my view this has profound implications for the future work of rural surveyors and valuers, and is the subject of a separate ‘Think Piece’ on which I am currently working for RICS. This link to a recent RICS Land Blog gives a little more idea of this. The conference will be an opportunity for a preview of this work.
But what other key political, economic, social, technical developments will shape the requirement for rural professional services over the next 10 years or so, and will this be good news or not for land agents and rural valuers? Clearly much will depend on how we embrace the new possibilities and in responding to this question some may fall back too easily on a tweedy, innately conservative stereotype of the traditional land agent and agricultural valuer. But this is too lazy a response. This is after all the profession which has supported farming through successive CAP reforms from the introduction of milk quota transfer services in the 1980’s, to all the requirements associated with entitlement for the Single Farm Payment in the 2000’s.
So I would like to ask you to respond to this poll about the future outlook for land agents’ and rural valuers’ services.
Please also feel free to tweet me (@charlescowap) or to use the comment facility to share your views on this important question as well.