You can't open a financial paper now without someone trying to flog you Ukrainian farm land. Agriculture is now flavour of the moment with professional investors and they are keen to get you to invest in their funds. But hang on a moment. Why tell us now. I mean why didn't they tell us five years ago when land was seriously cheap and no one wanted it? Well not quite no one. I am rather proud of the fact that when I gave the after dinner speech at the Oxford Farming Conference some four and a half years ago I ended it by telling my audience: 'To go out and buy land, it's cheap.' Those who acted on my advice will have seen their money treble.
But let's take our hats off to a really canny investor who not only guessed the market right but put his money where his mouth was, investing an eye watering £50 million in farm land in 1999 when he brought the Prudential Insurance agricultural estate of some 28,000 acres of Grade 1 & Grade 2 land. The name of that clever man - The Duke of Cornwall who, of course, is rather better known as the Prince of Wales.
Incidentally you will not go far wrong with your investment strategy if you always do the opposite of the Prudential Insurance company. The duchy of Cornwall I expect sold equities at near the top of the market and invested in farmland at the bottom, the Prudential sold farmland at the bottom and, i suspect, invested the proceeds in equities at the top - you don't get much dumber than that.