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Jeremy's Blog 7th May 2021: People

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 6th May 2021.

The gathering momentum of our apparent recovery from the pandemic, led by rural areas, sees more return to offices and meeting clients on farm, contractors or other parties in negotiations. Face-to-face contact offers immediacy, directness and subtleties, not mediated by a glowing screen with slight delays and connection failures, and brings the opportunity for the informal side conversations that help build the relationships that aid negotiation and ease resolving issues.

Rural work, reinforced by Covid measures, means that much of this is in the fresh air, a further change from the indoor life of the last year, allowing direct observation of properties as well as people, finding what has changed or better seeing what is intended, testing possibilities on the ground.

Much of the considerable professional success in managing the last year has drawn on past relationships, knowledge and experience, perhaps often drawing down rather than renewing those resources. Properly meeting clients, other professionals, new staff and fresh people will refresh those resources while we find the new balance for effectiveness as well as efficiency. We have now seen how adaptable we can be when required, using innovations and technology that did not exist a generation ago, but can now see Zoom as a valuable tool, not a constant companion.

These contacts are needed more than ever now. Alongside an evolving commercial environment and climate change mitigation, England is now moving from BPS to new schemes, Wales intends to follow and Scotland looks to make agricultural policy a sub-set of climate change policy. Reviewing business change with consequences for land use and testing the opportunities in the many kinds of innovation will be assisted by the strength of direct contact, with conversations exploring issues, sparking ideas and new views. The answers, including where and how technology is taken up, will all turn on human decisions that need to be made on a well-informed, honestly assessed and tested basis, building confidence where necessary.

Among the greatest benefits will be for those starting in the profession. Recruitment has continued strongly but there is now greater opportunity to work more closely with and learn from principals, gain experience of observation, practical problems and clients, and seeing how different issues interplay with differing answers – essentially, to develop as professionals. Supported by physical and remote tutorials, that building practical professional experience of real world situations, with the conversation and learning they offer, is invaluable preparation for this November’s CAAV examinations.

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