New agri policies must enable the tenanted sector to play a role in building a more sustainable, competitive and profitable future for farming, the NFU said.
The NFU Tenants Conference, held in Cambridgeshire this week, heard that tenant farming contributes significantly to UK agricultural output.
It also hard, however, that the sector could do more if the right policies are in place.
Tenant farmers are a vital part of the farming sector, covering around 30% of farmed land in England and Wales.
It also offers a route into farming for those outside of the industry.
NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts said: “I hope today’s discussions on issues such as tenancy reform will provide a catalyst for the action that the sector needs - providing stability for both landowners and tenants and boosting productivity.
“It’s essential that any policy framework for agricultural tenancies is fit for the future and that post-Brexit, tenant farmers are able to access any new agricultural and land management schemes as we move away from the Common Agricultural Policy once the UK leaves the EU.
“Such schemes must help to improve competitiveness and sustainability within the sector and allow tenant farmers to invest in their businesses.”
The next government has been urged by the NFU to support County Council farm estates – some of which have been sold off due to a lack of investment.
These farms often serve an important role in allowing that first foot on the ladder for new entrants.
Mr Roberts added: “Above all, we must encourage the next generation of farmers who have the skills and talent needed to thrive in the future, so we are able to continue to provide the nation with a trusted supply of safe, traceable and affordable food while caring for the iconic British countryside.”
The NFU was successful in lobbying the government to reconvene the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG) three years ago.
The group advises on measures that assist the tenanted sector within the agricultural industry and in particular to encourage diversification.