The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has published the findings of its survey of tenant farmer views on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra’s) plans for a Lump Sum Payment Exit Scheme.
The Lump Sum scheme is one of a suite of schemes Defra is introducing as part of the post Brexit Agricultural Transition Plan.
The scheme aims to allow farmers to receive a lump sum payment in place of the direct payments that they would have been entitled to receive during the remainder of the agricultural transition (2021 –2027) through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
TFA farm policy adviser, Lynette Steel, said:
"The survey captured the opinions of 360 tenant farmers. Three-quarters of those responding said they were seriously interested in the proposed scheme, demonstrating a strong appetite for the scheme amongst tenant farmers.
Alongside the proposed new entrants’ scheme, the findings from the TFA lump sum survey show that if Defra executes the Lump Sum scheme effectively, we could see a marked increase in land mobility.
"This would not only allow new entrants into the industry but would provide more opportunities for those looking to progress within the industry onto bigger and better units," explained Steel.
The TFA survey found that half of those interested in the scheme rented their land on traditional, Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies with security of tenure.
Geographically, the highest level of interest came from the southwest of England.
Although agricultural policy is devolved and the Welsh government has so far not muted running a similar scheme for farmers in Wales, of the 70 Welsh farmers who responded to the survey, only 9% would be interested in a similar scheme being introduced in there.
"Not surprisingly, over three quarters of respondents said the value of the retirement package would be the biggest factor they would need to consider before taking part in the scheme.
"Other key factors were readiness to retire and whether succession rights would be affected by participating," said Steel.
On a practical level, negotiating exits from farm tenancies is often a lengthy and complicated process.
"Therefore, given the short time frame Defra has outlined for the delivery of the scheme, we really need to see full scheme details by this autumn at the latest," she concluded.