Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions


Latest Article

The CAP doesn’t fit – why the EU’s farm subsidies are ripe for reform

With the support of the Atlas Network, CapX is publishing a new series of essays on the theme of Illiberalism in Europe, looking at the different threats to liberal economies and societies across the continent, from populism to protectionism and corruption. Richard Findlay is a farmer in the North York Moors National Park between York and Newcastle. As the Financial Times reported last year, Mr Findlay garners a profit of around £12,000 a year by grazing some seven hundred sheep. But even that... Read More >

Recent Articles:

Land of the long smug retirement
When winter bites, there are few better places to escape to than New Zealand. I’m just not too sure about the names of the sports teams. ‘Tall Blacks’ and ‘White Caps’ anyone? A degree of smugness accompanies those who leave these Read More >
How fake news is hindering farming
Pesticides and GM crops: the facts We live in a world of instant communication and 24-hour news, where the power of social media alone means any story can be transmitted at the press of a button. Such technology is both exciting and fantastic Read More >
The strange business of modern farming
Farms are peculiar assets. Returns are undeniable – but inaccessible. And subsidies, it seems, only make things worse. Farms are capital-intensive businesses, with land, buildings, fixed equipment, working capital for labour, livestock, Read More >
When the skies fall silent
Despite the best possible conditions, hundreds of species of bird are dying out before our very eyes. It may be too late for some – but action can still save others. It is possible that part of my life’s work in conservation on the Read More >
Migration perils and unrequited love
The chiffchaff, willow warbler and wood warbler are not easily distinguished from one another, except, as discovered by the curate of Selbourne, Gilbert White, at the end of the 18thcentury, by their respective songs. To the casual birder Read More >
Are farmers’ glasses half full or half empty?
As we look forward over the coming year, British agriculture is having to manage uncertainty – much like any other sector. Britain’s departure from the EU is not the only issue. Farms are also having to take on board the full implications of Read More >
The Flames of Notre Dame and the Prowl of the Tiger
My heart goes out to the people of France. The image of the burning cross taken from the air above the enflamed cathedral of Notre Dame is shattering. Its ruination, though, is causing immediate redemption. People all over France are pledging Read More >
Rot and decay are life giving​ processes, and environments without these processes are ultimately doomed
There are two types of invertebrate on our farm that I refer to as “the enemy”. They are the fly and the liver fluke, one an external parasite and the other an internal one, each the bane of the health of our cattle and sheep across the Read More >
Proud to be British A look at the people and institutions who remind us of the positives
It is always a pleasure to come across someone who makes you proud to be British. Baroness Trumpington, who died, aged 96, on 26 November, was one such person. While she will be remembered for her career in politics, especially for several years Read More >
On Marking Territory Considering the importance of “ownership”
The marking of territory is as instinctive as it is practical. Elephants do it by ripping out trees, certain dragonflies by flying in repetitive circles. When I first surveyed a population of Shoveler ducks on the North Kent marshes, their Read More >
Agricultural Commodity Prices: What a difference three months makes! The most successful farmers will be the ones with robust risk management processes in place.
In June 2018, the London Wheat Futures market was hovering around £150/tonne. Whilst this represented a modest improvement over the position 12 months earlier, there seemed to be little to get excited about in terms of market movement and the Read More >
Craigmore Commentary Regional impacts of Climate Change on agriculture
What are the regional effects of climate change on farmland / crop yields?  As can be seen from the green (benefiting from climate change) and red (suffering from climate change) areas on this map, organisations like the World Bank are Read More >
Investing in Agriculture – what should you think about? If agriculture needs subsidies to be viable, don’t go there
Most of us have probably heard that the we need to increase food production by 70% to feed the world in 2050.  Sounds impressive.  Sounds like an opportunity to make some money. Agriculture is the new black! Add to that the lack of Read More >
What Agriculture fits with future Environmental needs? Vertical farms and if a worthy use of public money
The construction of the World’s largest vertical farm, in Dubai, was recently announced. Effectively a high tech, multi-storied urban greenhouse, once built it will produce 2.5 tonnes of leafy greens a day, use no soil, and only 1% of the water Read More >
What is a farm? The farming industry is the most extraordinarily complex aggregation of components
Part 1 – Complexity and the Burden of History With the result of the Brexit vote leading to a long, complex and, to date, pretty fruitless period of negotiation to tease British agriculture apart from the safety blanket of the CAP, there has Read More >
Letter to the Editor – August 2018 Family farm inheritance
Dear Editor, I promised to pen a few points about family farm inheritance from a very personal and ill informed perspective, and below are some anecdotes on the subject. "I'm not very popular with some of Read More >
The Price of Farming Countries widely offer income support for farmers
Having sufficient food is a basic human need. Sadly it is not always the case in certain areas of our world and many still die of famine. However in developed countries often its supply is taken for granted and not really valued. We expect full Read More >
Who Owns Nature? Joy in the diversity of life and a humane pride of ownership
On the Pevensey Levels we have recently formed a Cluster Group, formed of 50 farmers seeking to improve their management and understanding of wildlife. The mantra of "more, bigger, better and joined" comes from the 2010 environmental white paper Read More >
Litter is plaguing the British countryside and its farmers Fly tipping costs the county approximately £1.8 million, not including the work done by farmers
Kent is a beautiful county. Some of our residents and visitors do not deserve such beauty. Like most counties, Kent is plagued with litter on its roadsides. Well done to the cleaning up department of KCC as much of the rubbish dumped, thrown and Read More >
How to build on this green and pleasant land Beauty and good design need not be expensive
Shaun Spiers, until recently Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has written a fascinating, profoundly significant, and at times deeply frustrating book. Reading How to build houses and save the countryside filled me with Read More >
Brexit and UK Agriculture Agriculture remains central to the whole raison d’etre of the European Union
Whilst the politically embarrassing butter mountains and wine lakes of the 1980s have been consigned to the history books, agriculture remains central to the whole raison d’etre of the European Union. Indeed, it remains one of the few policy Read More >
Cultural absurdity is no longer a joke It is not financially viable without a clearer and much longer term subsidy system
Nature conservation on England’s farms has never been so important. While all biological measures are continuing to reflect drastic declines of almost all species, money is only available on a short term basis in a complex changing politic. Read More >
A time for an integrated approach to farming We must seek to maximise the potential of our land
Mark Twain famously said ‘Buy land, they’re not making it anymore’ and in a world where population continues to increase, the relevance of that statement has never been greater. The pressures for use of land are multiplying, yet the demands Read More >
Volatility to Explain High Historical Farmland Returns A look back over 30 years of increased farmland returns
Introduction – the danger of being a farmer at MBA school (or at a dinner party) MBA schools characterise farming as a commodity industry, subject to negative weather events and low returns. Farmers are often told at dinner parties that Read More >
Managing tenants and coexisting with wildlife The beetles and the birds of farmyard living
I received a text message recently from the tenant of our converted granary. It requested that I telephone her immediately, there was a problem requiring my urgent attention. On calling, she relayed that in the middle of the night she had lain in Read More >
Australian dairy farms – the bull run is on How has Australian dairy farming come of age?
The global agricultural investment spotlight has moved ‘down under’ and is fixed firmly on the Australian dairy farm sector. Long overlooked as the ‘poor cousin’ of the agricultural sector, Australian dairy is now coming of age. Cattle Read More >
Letter to the Editor – March 2018 Natutral disasters, reconstruction work and beer in New Zealand
Dear Editor, I promised in my last letter to address the matters of property and agriculture in this epistle. Well rather strangely both topics come to mind as a result of two natural disasters that l have experienced here in New Read More >
THE WINDS OF CHANGE AT DEFRA Exciting times at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
These are changing, and some might say, exciting times at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Whilst not usually a high profile Ministry, the issue of BREXIT and the appointment of Michael Gove have certainly Read More >
Ten Lessons For A Financial Farmer Why the accounts are important, but the land is critical
In this commentary I review the years since my return to the family industry (the most recent of them managing third party capital into agriculture, via Craigmore Sustainables LLP). I conclude with a list of 10 lessons learnt as a 'Financial Read More >
What’s the weather like with you? The changing political climate in New Zealand
Dear Editor, "What's the weather like with you?" The most common telephone question ever asked. We all ask it. It's a conversation opener rather like the glib "How are you today?" that greets us at check out desks, shops, banks, in fact anywhere Read More >
Speeches and the need to Act Now… What must done to prevent the erosion of natural capital
Both the Oxford farming conferences hosted Defra minister Michael Gove in January. At each he made much of a future domestic agricultural policy that has really been nascent for the last 20 years, that farmers should use their land to provide Read More >
Letter from afar No snakes, sharks or poisonous spiders
Dear Editor, I have never been very keen on Australia. Snakes, sharks and poisonous spiders, busy, hot cities, remote, outback towns, vast expanses of nothingness. Australia is a nanny state full of restrictions, rules and limits. I flew Read More >
Wind turbine in fields The conference season and the imperative of continuity Why the future of farming depends on determination and long-term vision
January is conference season for the farming industry. The long standing Oxford Farming Conference’s (OFC) theme is 'embracing change', with views being offered from the DEFRA Minister Michael Gove and balanced by thoughtful presentations from Read More >
Sign showing Australian flag on a beach Farming and the feel good factor The state of farming in New Zealand
Dear Editor, Are we really going to restrict the numbers of agricultural workers prepared to come here from Eastern Europe and pick and harvest British crops? Better, is it, to import food from overseas? Hardly makes sense. But where has sense Read More >
Landscape with a row of trees and a rising sun and a grass field with fence on a misty morning What if nature reserves don’t work? Dealing with a situation of decreasing biodiversity
Farming in the UK needs nature reserves to work. The majority of biodiversity is conserved in protected landscapes, enabling conventional agriculture to have the dominant hand in the undesignated areas. However, increasing amounts of evidence are Read More >
Summer's day at Folkestone Harbour Kent England A letter from the Weald of Kent On changing clocks, Folkestone and the future of agriculture
Dear Editor, We have entered the season of early, dark nights. Some enjoy closing the curtains, lighting the fires and settling in for the evening: some pine for the longer days and more time outside in the light. Winter months support the Read More >
Apples on a tree A letter from the Weald of Kent On apples, farm workers and Brexit
Dear Editor, The harvest is mostly gathered in. Regionalised May ground and air frosts threatened the fruit that had enjoyed outstanding bud and blossom. Results were better than expected. Bramleys are now in store, Conference pears have been Read More >
Farming tractor plowing and spraying on field The value of a sheep On the difference between price and value
As a shepherd, it is important for me to know the value of a sheep. This is tested when attending a sheep auction, when I will need to be decisive and disciplined in sticking to an assessment. The Romney Day at Ashford Market, held at the end of Read More >
Beads of water on the surface of a leaf Wilderness: is there a change on the way? Could we see wild elephants returning to Europe? Martin Hole discusses a return to 'nature'
All property is environment. To begin with, and before man’s interference, it is a wholly natural tableau, but as we bend it to our will true wilderness loses out. Landscape cover of farming, forestry and urban development in the UK affects Read More >
Cows on pasture Farming in Australia: the change has arrived Jeremy Bayard shares his insights on investing in agriculture Down Under
There’s a change sweeping Australian agriculture. The nation that was “built on the sheep’s back” and has had an enduring relationship with all things farming since white settlement in 1788, is undergoing a systemic shift in its rural Read More >
Northern lapwing wading in water Why buy land? A farmer reflects on the opportunity that ownership brings for conservation and development
The skylark’s Latin name is Alauda arvensis. Roughly translated, it means exaltation from the field, an observation about its song and activity in asserting its territory. The lapwing, too, has a thrilling flight display when it first puts its Read More >
Farming tractor plowing and spraying on field Why worms matter On the importance of soil for agriculture - and why those who own or manage land should take note
Vile murder has foul consequences. The shooting of Tristan Voorspuy in March this year was a totemic moment in an ongoing conflict. On 12 June, as reported in The Times, Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition in Kenya’s government, openly Read More >
Land, territory and confrontation: the murder of Tristan Voorspuy Farmer Martin Hole reflects on the death of a family member in Kenya
Property rights lie at the heart of civilisation - not just in terms of commerce, but in the ability to safeguard long term interests and express natural territorial needs. Whether it is a farm such as ours on the marshes of East Sussex, or a Read More >

Featuring

Investor's Notebook

Smart people from around the world share their thoughts

Read more >

The Macro View

Recent financial news and how it connects across all asset classes

Read more >

Technology

Fintech, proptech and what it all means

Read more >

Uncorked

A sideways look at the world of wine

Read more >

The Architect

Some of the profession's best minds

Read more >

The Auctioneer

What's going on in the auction world

Read more >

Residential Investor

Making money from residential property investment

Read more >

The Professor

Analysis and opinion from the academic sphere

Read more >

Face to Face

In-depth interviews with leading figures in the property world

Read more >

The Headhunter

Recruitment and career moves

Read more >

The Analyst

Investment themes and trends

Read more >

The History Man

A look back at previous cycles, events, characters

Read more >

The Economist

Money, rates and prices

Read more >

Political Insider

The inside scoop on Washington, Westminster and Whitehall

Read more >

The Agent

Reflections on estate agency, today and in past times

Read more >

Alternative assets

Investing in tangible assets

Read more >

Subscribe to our print magazine now for just £50, saving £25 on your first year's subscription!

SUBSCRIBE