At the end of the second financial year of Knight Frank's strategic initiative to grow its rural estate management offering, the firm reflects on its growth plans as it continues its ambitious expansion across the country.

Paving the way to success has welcomed 14 new partner hires and six new office openings over the last two years.

Knight Frank has provided consultancy advice to estate owners and farmers for many decades. In 2021, the firm's group executive board decided to invest in this aspect of the business, embarking on an ambitious plan for growth.

James Farrell joined the firm as a proprietary partner and head of rural consultancy and has since overseen unprecedented growth of the rural team.

Under Farrell's leadership, the focus has been on attracting great people, establishing partner-led teams dedicated to the service of others, commitment to delivering 'turnaround performance' for estate businesses, as well as transforming the lived experience of estate ownership.

The Scottish Farmer: Alistair FellAlistair Fell

In a new era for the countryside, the team supports estate owners creating relevant, resilient, sustainable, thriving estate businesses fit for this century and the next.

To achieve this goal, Knight Frank has grown its rural consultancy offering rapidly with new teams and offices now spread across the length and breadth of the country.

The business has successfully established a national platform to advise landowners across the UK, a prime target which was set two years ago. With a clear focus on estate management, the team also provides consultancy advice to help clients meet the challenges of the new era in which rural business must now operate, including strategic reviews, natural capital assessments, placemaking and viticulture, access to grants and other funding mechanisms, the agricultural transition and regenerative farming.

The Scottish Farmer: Anna Collins Anna Collins

In the latest string of senior hires for Knight Frank, the firm has taken on some leading names in the rural sector to join the firm as partners, including Anna Collins and Patrick Beddows to lead a new Midlands offering in Melton Mowbray. In Kent, Ali Fell joined Knight Frank to lead the southeast, and later this year another leading figure in the rural world will join Knight Frank as a partner, to spearhead the Cheshire offering.

The Scottish Farmer: Patrick BeddowsPatrick Beddows

James Farrell said: "As we move into the third financial year, I am thrilled with the progress we've made so far. Culture is key, and we continue to attract the best talent in the market, grow our presence and win high-profile new work which showcases our dedication and commitment to playing our part in shaping a countryside for the future.

The 'natural capital century' is the most exciting time in my professional career. To be part of a business that is focused on enhancing people's lives and environments during this period of huge change in the rural economy is incredibly rewarding. Being able to build a new team steeped with experience in the business of owning estates and backed by the latest tech, data science, digital solutions, insightful research, and analysis, is a real privilege.

The Scottish Farmer: James FarrellJames Farrell

"With phase two of our plan well underway, marked by established new office openings across the country, we will complete our national coverage and add expertise across the markets where our clients need us most. We have been blessed with great people who understand the power of teams and can, together, make things happen. I am looking forward to welcoming more like-minded people to the business as we grow our teams. I would also like to extend a warm invitation to others who share our sense of purpose and want to be part of an exciting story of opportunity and growth to get in touch, particularly as we gear up for the launch of our latest office in Cheshire."

Head of residential at Knight Frank, Tim Hyatt, said: “The board is fully committed to the growth of this important part of our business. On the back of the step-change currently taking place across the rural sector, we are now better placed than ever to support our estate and farm business owning clients. Our strategic initiative has developed at pace, and we continue to look for opportunities for further growth and innovation in this sector.

"Be it the emerging natural capital markets of biodiversity net gain and nutrient neutrality, or more traditional elements of estate management and domestic food production, we now have a platform which can provide the latest thought leadership and guidance to clients nationwide. Under James, I look forward to watching this part of the business continue to flourish.”