Tenant farmers meet to discuss Agricultural Tenancy Reform

Tenant farmers in mid and south-east Wales have met to discuss the latest Government consultation on Agricultural Tenancy Reform.

Held at Monmouthshire Livestock Centre, NFU Cymru experts said they would fight for active farmers to be recognised for their efforts to provide safe, high-quality food whilst also delivering environmental and economic benefits.

Louise Staples, the NFU senior rural surveyor and NFU Cymru expert panel firms, Powells Rural, Rees Richards and JCP Solicitors were all in attendance to offer advice and support.

NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “Ensuring equal access for farmers, who do not own the land they farm, to schemes that will replace the Common Agricultural Policy remains a key priority for NFU Cymru.

“We are presently facing a time of unprecedented uncertainty with the very real threat of a ‘No-deal’ Brexit and the implications this would have on trade for our key products, the challenge of climate change and the increasing escalation of global trade wars.

Therefore, measures that provide stability to Welsh farming businesses are more important than ever to ensure that our sector can prosper.

Consultation

The Welsh Government consultation outlines a number of specific changes to tenancy laws, the 1986 Agricultural Holdings Act and the 1995 Agricultural Tenancies Act.

The changes aim to:

  • Reform and modernise agricultural tenancy regulations to provide an enabling environment for sustainable productivity improvements and investment;
  • Support new entrants and the next generation of farmers; and
  • Enable tenant farmers to access new agricultural and land management schemes.

“With around a third of agricultural land in Wales rented through formal and informal agreements, this is a critical time to consider the extent to which tenancy reform proposals will enable farmers, who do not own the land that they farm, to access future agricultural and land management schemes as we exit the EU and move away from the CAP,” Davies said.

Elwyn Evans, NFU Cymru tenants chairman, highlighted the professional advice, information and representation the union offers to its tenant members.

“There is a dedicated Tenants’ Helpline, which offers professional advice on tenancy issues as well as a range of free business guides giving background information and guidance on Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, farm business tenancies, rent reviews, arbitration, succession, notices to quit, plus many other agricultural business topics,” he said.

“The Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS) offers professional guidance and contributions towards professional costs incurred in relation to agricultural legal disputes (for example, rent review arbitration).”

Concluding, Davies added: “Overall, NFU Cymru is clear that future policy must recognise that tenant farming delivers the same economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes for society – that farming on owner-occupier holding and other land tenure does.

“The position of this vitally important sector must not be disadvantaged through tenancy reform or changes to agricultural policy moving forward.

“These events are vitally important for all tenant farmers across Wales to know the content of this consultation and allow us as union to represent your businesses.”

The next event will take place tonight (Monday, June 17) at 7:00pm in the Holt Lodge Hotel, Wrexham.