New plans to give tenant farmers more flexibility

New reforms have been announced to cut red tape and unlock productivity for the tenanted agriculture sector
New reforms have been announced to cut red tape and unlock productivity for the tenanted agriculture sector

Tenant farmers are set to benefit from greater flexibility in tenancy law under new plans to modernise legislation and boost productivity.

The government has published the response to its consultation on agricultural tenancy law in England and confirmed it will modernise the Agricultural Holdings Act.

Agricultural tenancies account for a third of all farmland in the country.

The new measures aim to help tenant farmers become more productive and have greater freedom in their business planning.



Amendments include repealing the minimum succession retirement age of 65 to provide tenants with the flexibility to decide when it is right for them to retire and hand over the farm to the next generation.

A new dispute mechanism will also be introduced to enable AHA tenants to ask to vary restrictions in their tenancy agreements and make it easier for them to apply for the future Environmental Land Management scheme.



Defra farming minister Victoria Prentis said: “We know that our tenant farmers are some of the most engaged and innovative in the sector and it is high time that we modernise outdated legislation so that it is fit for today’s farmers and their families.

“I am pleased that we have already been able to incorporate some of these proposals into our landmark Agriculture Bill and look forward to working closely with industry to continue supporting this vibrant sector.”

Defra consulted the sector on these changes 2019, when it launched a 12-week consultation on proposals aiming to remove barriers to productivity.

This built on the work of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG), who previously provided advice on key policy priorities for the tenanted sector in the design of the future agricultural system.