A new independent Tenancy Working Group has been launched, chaired by Baroness Kate Rock, seeking to identify and address concerns for the tenanted sector through the delivery of Environmental Land Management (ELM) and ongoing sector sustainability.
A welcome announcement
NFU Tenants Forum chairman Chris Cardell said: "This announcement is absolutely welcome as it is critical tenant farmers can create a secure and sustainable future for their own businesses and that there are suitable options for them within the government’s ELM and related schemes.
"The five main objectives of the working group that have been identified are far reaching and encompass many of the concerns our members have been expressing."
The main objectives of the group will include:
- How Defra can use scheme design to facilitate participation of and benefits to tenant farmers in new Government ELMs and related schemes.
- Consideration of what policy initiatives will secure the long-term sustainability of tenant farming in England.
- How best to foster positive and long-term relationships between tenants and landlords.
- Providing advice on ways to minimise any potential loss of land from the tenanted sector to avoid damaging its resilience.
- Consideration of why it might be necessary to look for new legislative or regulatory powers in the future.
Accessible schemes a must
With over 60% of England’s farmed area being farmed by tenants, they play a pivotal role in producing food for the nation and looking after our environment. That is why schemes must be accessible to them and land must not disappear from the sector.
"This announcement is much needed," continued Mr Cardell, "and will hopefully now offer some stability to landlords and their tenants and settle the volatile marketplace until the outcome of the review."
"We still have significant concerns that the accessibility of the proposed ELM schemes, in combination with the rapid reduction in direct payments, will have damaging impacts for tenant farming businesses," Mr Cardell said.
"It is unacceptable to expect tenant farmers to make significant, long-term decisions now about the future of their businesses while multiple barriers remain unaddressed within new government schemes that are portrayed as a replacement for direct payments."
We look forward to working with Lady Rock and other stakeholders as we continue to champion tenant farmers.