Lending to agriculture by the Lloyds TSB group, which includes the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, has increased significantly over the past two years, highlighting a strong belief that the long-term fundamentals for the sector are good.

AMC lending rose by 25% in 2007, 40% last year and 30% so far, year-on-year, in 2009. “The challenge is managing short-term volatility, but we do see agriculture as a growth area,” said Paul Spencer, the group’s agriculture director, at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers annual general meeting.

In contrast to what was happening in its other divisions, the group had recruited 15 new people into its agricultural division and was now claiming a share of at least 30% of agricultural lending. “We are keen to do more in the sector,” said Mr Spencer.