Rising land values cause looming crisis over succession in agriculture

Britain's agriculture industry is sitting on a ticking timebomb due to a lack of succession plans and rising farm land values.

Nearly half of the UK's 127,000 farms have no formal plan for who will take over running the business, Barclays figures reveal. Yet the industry has seen land values double to record levels in the past five years as investors seek to capitalise on rising food prices and growing demand for biofuels. That has triggered the prospect of showdowns for the 44 per cent of Britain's farms with no formal succession management plans.

"Succession has always been a highly emotional issue, but tensions have soared in the past three years in line with land values," said Martin Redfearn, head of agriculture at Barclays.

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