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Rural Estate Management: key changes coming this decade

Rural Estate Management is coming under more and more pressure.

Key concerns include:

  • the rising cost of fuel and resources;
  • the lack of young people seeking jobs in rural estates management;
  • the pressure to sell land for housing or commercial development;
  • changes to farming and land use legislation;
  • new risks, challenges and opportunities caused by climate change.

While the exact issues vary from case to case, it’s certainly becoming harder for asset managers to keep their estates intact and profitable.

Rural estate manager's work boots in a field made of dried mud and grass.

This sector has already seen huge changes in the last century. However, environmental concerns and the potential offered by different revenue streams mean that rural estate managers must be ready to pivot yet again. We took a closer look at the conflicts and opportunities that estate managers have to deal with.

What does the future of estate management look like?

Imagine that it is the year 2030. Roger, a rural estate management professional, is driving his car, taking a visitor on a tour of the site he manages. The last decade has seen a huge amount of change across the estate, and he points out a number of these developments to his guest.

To their left is a field that was once allocated to grazing. Now, it has been transformed into a solar park, complete with the most advanced solar PVC cells. These cells can generate electricity even on cloudy days. Driving around the corner they pass a campsite set up for tourists, which has been running for the past few years.

Roger’s guest comments on the abundance of trees and wildlife visible. This diversity is the result of the farm’s rewilding scheme. They eventually pull up at a field where a team of robotic fruit pickers is working hand in hand with human labourers to harvest strawberries.

Roger explains to his guests that his land management activities have changed dramatically over the past decade. Today, real estate management jobs look very different to how they were when he started out. Nevertheless, the changes are overall positive, leading to more efficient, productive and environmentally friendly rural land management.

The approach to rural estate management described in the scenario above is being driven by a number of changes happening in land management today. Let’s explore some of these key drivers in rural estate management.

Estates management: How the industry is digitally transforming

Key drivers of change in rural estate management

Rural land management has continually changed over the centuries, yet today’s drivers of change are unusual in the speed and scale at which they’re happening. Let’s learn more about how rural estate management is evolving.

·       Changes in farming policy

For British farmers, perhaps the most imminent driver of change is a shift in the UK’s farming policy. For the past few decades, the policy focus has been on providing farmers with subsidies. However, this established approach is being phased out in favour of the provision of environmental services.

Rural land managers are now incentivised to take an ‘ecological recovery’ approach to managing land. Today, they must prioritise creating an environment that’s friendly to wildlife and native species and reversing land use change.

By and large, farmers and land agents support this approach. 80% say they are concerned with losses to biodiversity and want to help tackle climate change. However, many say they’re unsure about exactly how these new land management policies will work.

·       Expanding use of technology

Like every other industry, technology is disrupting rural estate management. Land agents are relying on messaging apps and project management platforms for day-to-day tasks. They can even use new kinds of hardware such as robotics and internet-connected sensors to monitor their sites and improve productivity.

That means the workforce needs training, but it also offers a lot of opportunities.

·       Climate adaptation

Rural estate management professionals are on the frontline of climate change adaptation. Not only are farmers’ fields, heritage buildings and campsites vulnerable to the effects of climate change (be that flooding, changing weather patterns, or drought), but these sites can also help the world adapt.

For instance, they provide a space to generate renewable energy, capture carbon, or manage rivers in ways that reduce flood risks. Land agents also have unique opportunities to support positive climate action. They can do things like insulating heritage buildings, installing electric vehicle charging points, and encouraging biodiversity.

·       Changing land use

Rural land management practices have always evolved. However, we can expect a number of megatrends to affect the sector in the coming years. There is an ever-growing interest in rural tourism, driving up demand for camping, ‘glamping’ and rural cottages. This will also no doubt affect land usage.

When it comes to farming, we’re seeing big changes in what food farmers produce and how. There is now more demand for eco-friendly foods, ‘vertical farming’ and new crops. For example, vineyards are an ever-more common sight in the UK.

PlanRadar helps rural estate management to adapt

PlanRadar is a mobile and desktop-based platform that meets the changing needs of real estate management professionals. The software allows you to see your entire estate on a single screen. You can then allocate tasks, set up checklists and manage projects from its easy-to-use interface.

Using PlanRadar, rural land management agents can also quickly and easily do things like:

  • Allocate rural estate management jobs to employees and subcontractors. Managers can indicate where a task is on a map of the estate (or a building blueprint), and verify the standard of completed work with photos.
  • Schedule routine maintenance tasks for both fixed and mobile assets, including equipment, buildings, fences and vehicles.
  • Complete health and safety inspections of sites for due diligence, valuation reports and planning permission.
  • Conduct fire safety checks and record evidence.
  • Automatically generate all manner of reports as required by the landowner and other authorities.
  • Easily manage complex projects. From upgrading buildings insulation to planting timber or installing new technology, all team members can collaborate in one app.

 

While rural estate management professionals can get by using more traditional methods for managing tasks and projects, investing in estate management software can dramatically speed up how quickly work is done. Rural estate management teams can also save time and improve productivity. Tools like PlanRadar can make managing your sites much easier – leaving you more time to adapt to major changes in the rural estates management sector.

Ready to see how PlanRadar could support your rural land management tasks? Contact us today for a demo of the software.

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