Sussex farmer is new chair of NFU Tenants' Forum

21 April 2023

John Marland

Sussex farmer John Marland has been elected chair of NFU tenants' forum

John Marland takes over the reins from Chris Cardell as the NFU's new Tenant Forum chair. 

Mr Marland, who farms in both East Sussex and West Sussex, had previously chaired NFU South East’s forum for seven years and has been involved with The Rock Review, Baroness Kate Rock’s report on tenanted farms in the UK, during the past year.

John paid tribute to Chris’ time at the NFU, stating that “the NFU and tenanted sector owe Chris Cardell a huge debt of gratitude for the dedication, commitment and effort he has given for so many years”.

“I thank him and wish him the very best in the future.”

Period of tremendous change

John described the current period as one of “tremendous change and opportunity for farming and for tenants in particular”.

“Tenants have always risen to the challenge and I am sure they will continue to do so given the chance. Landlords and tenants control the majority of the land in the UK.

“Government now has a great opportunity, at this moment, to respond and act on the fantastic work and recommendations by Baroness Kate Rock in the Rock Review on farm tenancies and I do hope they do so.

“Government now has a great opportunity, at this moment, to respond and act on the fantastic work and recommendations by Baroness Kate Rock in the Rock Review.”

NFU Tenant Forum chair, John Marland

“Farming and the environment are inextricably linked so there is no better time for us all to work together and to get it right, to protect our farmland, food production and environment for the benefit of generations to come.”

John has experience across many sectors, from dairy, beef and sheep to arable, and keeps the environment at heart of decision-making on his own farms.

His business is predominantly arable and based on two holdings, one south of Chichester and the other north of Battle. Temporary grass is within Countryside Stewardship.

Mr Marland is also chair of FiPL (Farming in the Protected Landscapes) for the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He believes it will be an increasingly important mode of farm support in the future.

Future must be secure and profitable

Chris echoed John’s calls for the government to act on the Rock Review, stating that while “the Rock Review goes part way to leading the way in identifying both the challenges & opportunities for the sector but as yet we are waiting for Ministers to advise how this work will be developed with further consultation through the tenant forum and fellow stakeholders”.

“The level of insecurity currently being faced by all involved in the tenanted sector is holding back decision making for long term investments, right down to timely and meaningful rent reviews.

“With tenanted farm businesses farming in excess of 60% of our food production area, and with our sector being the most common route for young entrepreneurs to enter the industry, it is crucial the future is both secure & profitable.

“It has been a privilege to meet and work with so many fantastic people during my time as NFU tenants forum chair and many of those new found friendships will be kept for life.

nfu22 chris cardell 01

“Our sector is the most common route for young entrepreneurs to enter the industry; it is crucial the future is both secure & profitable.” 

Former NFU Tenant Forum chair, Chris Cardell

“I wish John the very best in his new role and I know the forum will continue to work tirelessly to deliver the very best service on behalf of both current NFU members and future tenant farmers.”

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