The pandemic has paved the way for change

The pandemic has been a wholly unexpected event that has caused change in many aspects of our lives. Within these last 12 months we have all experienced so much change that it is now endemic and has become a natural, if not always welcome, part of everyday life.

In my role as Rural Surveyor, I have recently been more involved in Estate Management where I have developed a greater understanding of the importance of the ability to accept, embrace and affect change. Being able to adapt will undoubtedly be the key to survival for many farming businesses over the next few decades and whilst change can be a daunting prospect for many, it can also offer new and exciting opportunities.

It is my job to ensure that an estate runs smoothly and efficiently whilst accommodating natural evolution. My experience has emphasised to me that strategic analysis and careful planning are key to running a successful business and, in addition, the estate or family farming enterprise must also be able to adjust to changing economic times in order to survive.

As a business, we are seeing an increasing number of enquiries from farming families needing help with succession planning and I think that the pandemic has re-focused many minds on the natural evolution of life and death.  The older generation are keen to ensure that loose ends are tied up and the younger generation are even keener to move forward once some normality returns. This would suggest that now is the time to challenge historic practices and beliefs and start to make both minor and major changes to a farming business.  However, it is important to appreciate that over the past 12 months changes have been forced upon us and instigating change within a family business is a whole different ball game!

The most difficult part of managing change is getting the ball rolling and the first step is to start the conversation. This will undoubtedly prompt discussion about the future of the business or estate and whilst it may lead to difficult conversations where emotions can sometimes run high, especially considering the inextricable link between farming assets and a family home, we are seeing more and more families successfully engaging with a succession planning process and reaping the rewards.

With spring around the corner, it really couldn’t be a better time to embrace new growth and ideas! Having started to embrace some sort of change, further change is easier to accept – once the toffee is warm, you can keep it moving!

Harriet Jones MRICS, FAAV is a Rural Surveyor with Barbers Rural Consultancy and can be contacted on 01630 692500 or


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