The Sheldon Bosley Knight team has grown again thanks to the arrival of Jimmy Morton who joins to head up our rural department.
Jimmy has worked in the rural sector for more than 10 years, most recently as a chartered surveyor with Sworders in Rugby and before that with Godfrey Payton in Warwick, and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Land and estate management, farming and rural life are in his blood – he still lives on the family farm in Draycote near Rugby – and is passionate about the community into which he was born, including helping fellow land and estate owners make the most of their businesses, which makes him the perfect person to jointly head up the SBK rural team alongside Liza Randall.
His passions also extend to sport, working on an almost classic cars, promoting the benefits of locally sourced food (food from the family farm is sold from a 1960’s Citroen H van at food festivals and events around Warwickshire) and walking in the woods to get a bit of peace and quiet.
What is your job title?
I am the joint head of SBK’s rural department and will be based in the Shipston-on-Stour office focusing on Warwickshire and the surrounding counties.
What does your job entail?
Due to the nature of rural land and property, farmers and landowners may need a land agent for a variety of reasons and so my day-to-day work will involve getting to know and advising farmers, land and estate owners on the challenges of owning land and getting the most out of their businesses. In short, we are problem solvers. We are seeing an increase in demand from landowners wishing to explore new opportunities and find ways to modify their businesses in different directions to increase capital. There are lots of these opportunities so my job will be to identify them for each individual business and see how we can help them. The long-term vision is to grow this side of the business for SBK.
Is there a typical day?
No not at all! I love that this job is so diverse, I get to meet so many interesting people and every day is different. In the morning I could be drawing up a contract farming agreement and then in the afternoon advising on a complex compulsory purchase acquisition. Alternatively, I could be advising on landlord and tenant, diversification opportunities or negotiating terms for a solar development.
What did you do before this job?
I worked at Sworders in Rugby as a chartered surveyor focusing on solar development, strategic land and general practice and before that estate management with Godfrey-Payton in Warwick. I’ve been working in the rural sector for 10 years, qualifying as a chartered surveyor in 2015.
How did you get into the property industry and how long have you worked within it?
I’ve been involved in farming all my life as I grew up on our farm near Rugby and still have an active role in it. I always knew I wanted to be involved in the rural sector and after arranging for work experience with a local firm I quickly realised that land agency could be the perfect fit.
What attracted you to working for SBK?
I’ve admired SBK for many years. It’s a forward thinking, innovative company and I’ve always been impressed with its growth, its grounded principles and the fact it has a great reputation in the industry. When (SBK co-owner) Dan Jackson approached me about the job it was really exciting. Both Mike (Cleary, co-owner) and Dan have been incredibly supportive which is great and gives me confidence to promote the business and the rural industry.
What’s the best bit about your job?
I love going out and meeting farmers and landowners and learning about the history of their farms, what they have done and thinking about the opportunities available to help grow or sustain their businesses. To go away and work on something for them, such as securing consent for a Class Q or concluding a complex transaction, and then getting good feedback, is extremely rewarding. Working within a fantastic team is also rewarding and another great part of the job.
Are there any challenges?
As an agent we can find ourselves in demanding situations for example during landlord and tenant negotiations. Mediation can be challenging, so it is important to remain professional and provide a quality service to your client. Having grown up on a family farm I have seen the challenges that farmers face day to day and understand that it is not an easy industry to be in. Land agents are there to offer support and guidance though these uncertain times. This is especially important with the loss of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), increasing production costs and political pressures. We hope to identify solutions to these challenges and advise them through this tricky time.
What qualifications or training do you need to do this job?
As a surveyor reputation is everything and so qualifications, training and on the job experience are really important. In rural surveying it is good to have some work experience within the agricultural sector. I went to Harper Adams University in Shropshire and did a BSC (Hons) degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management. In 2015 I qualified as a chartered surveyor. Also, as I continue to have an active role within my family’s farm, I understand the issues that clients are dealing with and affected by. If farmers know you understand what they are going through and feel reassured they are not alone, there is a greater rapport with clients and a good level of trust and that is really important.
What motivates you to work hard?
The buzz of the office, being part of a strong team and doing the best job for my clients.
What are your career goals?
My life goal is to be a partner of a rural firm one day. For now it is to grow the rural side of the SBK business and there are lots of opportunities to do that so I am very excited.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?
Always have the client’s best interests at heart and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. These are the principles I work by every day.
Finally, what do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I help on the family farm, enjoy cycling, running and cricket. I am also passionate about cars and trying to find the time to work on my 90’s Alfa Romeo GTV. I am a keen skier and particularly enjoy the Pyrenees for the decent food and scenery.