New face joins Davidson & Robertson’s team to support farming resilience
The significant changes to support for farming and land management have increased the level of enquiries at Davidson & Roberson (D&R), leading to the appointment of Abigail Wass as Assistant Land Agent.
Abigail is working with farmers and landowners who have a range of issues from the loss of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to development opportunities, infrastructure, and renewables right across Cumbria and South West Scotland.
Graduating from Harper Adams in 2018, she has a BSc Honours Degree in Rural Enterprise & Land Management. As part of her degree, she spent a year working on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire, where she was involved with a wide range of estate management tasks.
Abigail, who moved to Penrith in 2018, began working with a local land agency but chose a move to Cockermouth, joining Davidson & Robertson at the end of 2021 to work more closely with the farming community.
Commenting on her move to D&R, Abigail said “There’s a great atmosphere and the team is very friendly, down to earth and supportive. I enjoy being involved in a wide variety of work, from dealing with BPS queries to working on infrastructure and utility projects.
“One of the busiest projects at the moment continues to be our support for farmers through The Farm Resilience Scheme. This is a DEFRA funded project giving farmers chance to review the impact the changes to farming policy and grant funding, are likely to have over the next few years.
“D&R is lucky to be working in partnership with The Laurence Gould Partnership (LGP) – 1 of 15 businesses in England to offer a farm business review under this scheme. It is a great opportunity to provide an objective, external viewpoint, helping give clients clarity and a starting point for the future.
“We have been quick to offer this support to existing clients, helping gather all the information needed for the review which is undertaken free of charge with the grant funding being paid by DEFRA.
“There is also the opportunity to get practical information on the options available to help mitigate the effects of reducing Basic Payment Scheme monies over the next 5 years.”
Abigail said more farmers need to be aware of this opportunity – and has urged new, potential clients to get in touch if they want to capitalise on the opportunity for a free review of the changes likely to affect them. “The one-to-one advice will be delivered to around 240 farmers on a first come first served basis and involves assessing their business with an action plan for the future.”
D&R Director Chris Edmunds heads the Cumbrian office and had been working closely with Abigail, he said “We were looking for someone who had an understanding of rural issues and a natural empathy with the farming community. At the same time, we need someone analytical and methodical in their approach. We were lucky enough to meet Abigail and are delighted with her progress. She has settled in well and is keen to develop, so we are working with her towards her goal of gaining an RICS qualification to become a Chartered Surveyor.”
Commenting further on the raft of grants currently available to farmers and landowners, Chris explains “we are able to provide strategic advice to clients by utilising our skill sets across a range of workstreams including assessing development opportunities, land management, valuations & sales which complement the service offering with LGP so well. We do urge farming businesses to think about their business over the short term but also over a 5-to-10-year period, so as to not rush into grants which on the face of it seem good, but may hinder a more strategic approach”
In her spare time, Abigail loves the outdoors, getting out and about with her dog and making the most of the lakes for open water swimming and paddleboarding.
For more information about the Farm Resilience scheme or support on offer from D&R, contact 01900 268633 to speak to Chris Edmunds or Abigail Wass