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    Tenant Farming, 2007 and Beyond
10/01/07

The future of tenant farming in Scotland comes under the spotlight in a series of roadshows over the next few weeks jointly organised by the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) and NFU Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC), the Scottish Estates Business Group (SEBG) and the Scottish Rural Property Business Association (SRPBA).

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scottish farmland

The lack of new entrants coming into agriculture and the ageing profile of farmers has been headlining the farming news over the past year. The low profitability of agriculture, high capital requirement of farming, lack of available land to rent and high land values have all contributed to the current concerns. The NFUS/STFA roadshows intend to examine the workings of the tenanted sector and its future, giving a practical insight into the operation of letting land from both a tenant and a landlord perspective. Speakers from the Young Farmers will outline their aspirations and visions for the future.

Hamish Lean from Blackadders solicitors in Forfar will open the meetings with an overview of the legislative framework, how new tenancies are operating, the importance of making the right tenancy arrangement and forward planning succession.

The details of the six meetings are as follows:

Monday 15 January: Inverness Caley Thistle Football Stadium, Inverness, 7.30pm

Thursday 18 January: Barn & Bushel, Thainstone Mart, Aberdeen, 7.30pm

Monday 22 January : The Corran Halls, Oban (Please note 12.45pm start)

Tuesday 23 January: The Lodge, Carfraemill, 7.30pm

Monday 29 January: The Urr Valley, Castle Douglas, 7.30pm

Tuesday 30 January: Huntingtower Hotel, Crieff Road, Perth, 7.30pm

Speaking ahead of the first meeting in Inverness on 15 January, NFUS President John Kinnaird said:

“There is a real debate ongoing about how we encourage and support the next generation of farmers. Clearly, a thriving tenanted sector in Scotland must be part of the answer. The purpose of these meetings is to outline the options available to both landlord and potential tenant. With all the major agricultural organisations involved, these meetings will provide a platform for all parties to discuss the future of tenancy arrangements in Scotland.”

STFA Chairman Angus McCall said:

“I am delighted that for the first time all the organisations involved will be sharing a platform to examine how farm tenancies will develop in coming years. Agriculture and the rural environment is fast changing and we must endeavour to create the confidence to maintain and grow the tenanted sector, learning from the mistakes of the past and prepared to make full use of the new legislation. Farm tenancies are the natural entry route for young farmers and if agriculture in Scotland is to survive it is vitally important that we ensure that there is a vibrant and vigorous tenanted sector which will allow new blood a foot on the farming ladder.”
Hamish Lean of Blackadders Solicitors said:

“Agricultural tenancies have traditionally been regarded as a means of access into farming. With increasing debate on how best to encourage new entrants, in my view it is vital that there is a wider understanding of how the law regulates agricultural tenancies and the different forms of tenancy which may be available.”

Roddy Jackson, Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Estates Business Group, said:

“It is in everyone’s interests that the issue of new entrants is addressed on a cross-industry basis. This is a serious and complex issue and no effort must be spared in finding solutions. SEBG is keen to work with all those in the industry to deliver the objective of freeing up land for the next generation of farmers.”

Keith Arbuthnott, Chairman of SRPBA, said:

“We are delighted to have been invited to take part in this series of events. All involved agree that a vibrant tenanted sector is a vital component for Scotland's agriculture industry, and both landowners and tenants must do all they can to ensure its future. Exploring and delivering viable opportunities for new entrants is an essential part of this process and we can only do this successfully through joint working and joint commitment.”

link Family Farms - the Backbone of British Agriculture
link Working Together For British Farming In 2007
link Farm Tenants should not be Disadvantaged on CAP Payments

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Scottish Tenant Farmers Association