Tenant farmers in mid and south east Wales have met to discuss the latest Welsh Government consultation on Agricultural Tenancy Reform.
Held at Monmouthshire Livestock Centre, NFU Cymru experts confirmed their commitment to fight for active farmers to be recognised for their efforts on the ground to provide safe, high quality food whilst delivering environmental and economic benefits for all to enjoy.
John Davies NFU Cymru President 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.
“This Welsh Government consultation outlines a number of specific changes to tenancy law - both the 1986 Agricultural Holdings Act and the 1995 Agricultural Tenancies Act – aimed at reforming and modernising agricultural tenancy regulations to provide an enabling environment for sustainable productivity improvements and investment; facilitating structural change and supporting new entrants and the next generation; and also enabling 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 scheme(s) as we exit the EU and move away from the CAP.”
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.
Elwyn Evans, NFU Cymru Tenants Chairman, said: “NFU Cymru membership provides professional advice, information and representation to actively support our 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.
“The Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS) offers professional guidance and contributions towards professional costs incurred in relation to agricultural legal disputes (eg, rent review arbitration). And with the Tenants' First Advice, LAS subscribers can also take advantage of this service when facing a rent review. This service provides a contribution of up to £600 towards professional advice required to prepare budgetary reports for assessing the rental value of a farm.”
Concluding, Mr Davies said: “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 in Holt Lodge Hotel, Holt, Wrexham LL13 9SW on Monday 17th June 2019.