WHILE commodity prices remain high, agents have said that land prices remain 'strong', as does demand.

The reason is being attributed partially to a lack of supply, but also to the need for many businesses to expand, tax incentives and the broader range of buyers often looking beyond traditional agricultural uses.

David Stout from Cumbria-based PFK said: "The gradual reduction in - and the eventual loss of - Basic Payment scheme monies is seemingly having little impact on the market with many buyers’ keen to embrace the new sources of grant and financial support gradually being either introduced or reinforced.

"Of equal interest is the recognition not only by buyers but also existing farmers and landowners in our area, of the importance of having or creating separate income streams beyond traditional farm enterprises.

"It’s one of the many advantages of living where we do that tourism and the number of visitors coming to our area grows by the year.

"Planning policies are far more sympathetic as are most landlords.

"Forestry, carbon sequestration and other long term alternative land uses are getting plenty of publicity but need careful thought rather than being seen as the 'silver bullet' to both helping climate change and government targets."

Speaking of the agricultural sector, he added: "Our industry’s main priority must remain the production of food but increasingly using environmentally-sensitive methods whilst recognising which land is not ideal for food production and embracing that as part of the strategy for the future."