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Agricultural & Rural

Our award winning and highly regarded Agricultural & Rural Services Team has been dealing with land owning and farming legal issues for many years, with most of our advisors actually heralding from farming families themselves. Four of our Partners grew up on farms and continue to be actively involved in farming.

We offer comprehensive legal advice on non-contentious and contentious aspects of both private client and commercial matters relating to agricultural and rural business clients. We have the strength in depth to advise in relation to very complex farming business issues and the flexibility in being able to address the more obscure problems that rural practice can produce.

Our expert agricultural & rural advice covers:

  • Land sales and acquisitions including farm and estate sales & purchases
  • Succession planning
  • Inheritance Tax Planning
  • Finance including advice on legal charges and independent legal advice for lenders
  • Agricultural tenancies including advice in relation to Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, farm business tenancies and agricultural work tenancies
  • Partnerships including partnership agreements and restructuring
  • Joint Ventures including grazing agreements, share farming and contract farming
  • Diversification including business tenancies, renewables and mines & minerals
  • The Common Agricultural Policy including advice in relation to Single Farm Payments (SFP) and environmental stewardship
  • Equine matters including livery agreements and equestrian leases & licensing
  • Sporting Rights including registration and shooting & fishing licences
  • Farm and estate management including access, water, residential tenancies and service occupancies

FBC Manby Bowdler is recognised annually as having the leading specialist law team servicing the agricultural sector in the West Midlands, Shropshire and beyond. 


Legal 500 2017: The Agricultural & Rural Services Team was recognised as a Top Tier team in the West Midlands.

"FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘professional and efficient’ eight-partner agricultural team is headed by the highly rated Steven Corfield and has handled matters involving partnership restructurings, succession planning and retirement disputes. On the contentious side, family law specialist Elizabeth Cleverley represented a wife in a dispute with her husband regarding valuation evidence and questions of liquidity, while associate Suzanne Tucker assisted Brian Aikman with a partnership retirement dispute revolving around the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1986. 

Non-contentious highlights for Sarah Baugh included advising on the maximisation of inheritance tax relief on a substantial farming estate, and handling the documentation and negotiation of an option to lease of an energy barn. Tom Devey advised on the acquisition of a dairy farm."

The Firm’s Agricultural Business Principal Development Partner, Steven Corfield, is recognised as a leading individual and was ranked in the Legal 500 'elite lawyers' list.


Chambers UK 2018: The Agricultural & Rural Services Team has been ranked in Band 1 for 'Shrewsbury and the Surrounding' areas.

"The team are second to none in the county as agricultural lawyers. They handle everything that the client requires, with a strong skill set in litigation, and landlord and tenant issues,"   

Steven Corfield advises on partnership agreements, sporting and mineral rights, renewable energy projects and freehold and leasehold issues. A client says: "I like the fact that he is very knowledgeable and can put that knowledge into practice as well as looking at practical ways to move forward. He is also very efficient."

Sarah Baugh, who has also been recognised as a "Ranked Lawyer", assists clients with agricultural property issues, including purchasing and selling of land, tenancies and subsidy advice. She also has expertise on matters related to agri-environmental schemes.

Tom Devey has been referenced as an "Up and Coming" solicitor. He acts for individuals and businesses on purchases and disposals of rural land and property, agricultural tenancies and partnership matters.

If you have an enquiry in relation to an agricultural issue or simply want to speak to a member of our expert Team for further information and guidance, please use the request a call back or make an enquiry option to get in touch.

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Contact the team

Andrew Vernon

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Anna Russell

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Elizabeth Cleverley

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Fiona Sedgley

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Harriet Critchley

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Jane Hughes

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Julia Fitzsimmons

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Sarah Baugh

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Steven Corfield

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Stuart Rea

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Tom Devey

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