Successful first year for the Scottish Land Matching Service

The Scottish Land Matching Service (SLMS), supported by the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS), has had a successful first year and is looking to build on its momentum.

Managed by Ian Davidson, former head of agriculture policy with Scottish government, the SLMS is a consortium approach, involving several Scottish stakeholders, which aims to match new entrants and developing businesses with well-established farmers and crofters who may be looking to step back.

In the past year, the service has received 152 enquiries with four times as many people looking for opportunities compared to those in a position to offer.

Enquiries have included all scales and types of enterprise from market garden up to extensive sheep, cattle and arable operations.

Four successful matches have been made, including a joint venture and partnership agreement, and this provides an excellent platform for more successful matches in the future.

‘It has been a busy first year for SLMS’

Ian Davidson said:

“It has been a busy first year for SLMS and tremendous strides have been made. I am really pleased with the number of enquiries and that SLMS has been able to help a number of parties reach successful agreements.

There is a clear need and demand for this service. Its strength is that it provides free independent advice and facilitation for anybody thinking about a joint venture. This means that it can help parties interested in ventures of all scales and types.

“We have lots looking for opportunities and I would urge anybody thinking about taking a step back from farming or crofting to get in touch to have a confidential discussion with myself.”

‘It’s difficult for the next generation’

NFUS president Andrew McCornick said:

We know that it’s difficult for the next generation to gain a foothold in the industry, but we also recognise that for existing farmers and crofters stepping back can be a difficult decision.

“The fact that successful ‘matches’ are now being made will give people confidence in the service. I would urge anybody who feels they may have a potential opportunity to offer to get in touch with Ian to have a discussion.”

Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, said:

“The introduction of the land matching service has been very helpful in providing a mechanism that brings together potential landlords and tenants of agricultural holdings.

“I am delighted to note that some successes have already been achieved and I encourage all landlords and tenants seeking or offering a tenancy to engage with the service as a way of optimising their opportunities.”