Tenant farmers seek 'crucial' Ag Bill amendments

Concerns raised that farm tenants will struggle to take part in the flagship 'public payments for public goods' policy
Concerns raised that farm tenants will struggle to take part in the flagship 'public payments for public goods' policy

Tenant farmers are seeking 'crucial' amendments to the Agriculture Bill as the post-Brexit legislation enters its final parliamentary stages.

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) welcomed provisions within the Bill on farm tenants, but said there were 'significant weaknesses' which needed to be addressed.

Peers in the House of Lords will begin debating the Report Stage of the Agriculture Bill before it heads back to the House of Commons for sign off prior to Royal assent.

The new legislation will provide the foundation upon which future policy for agriculture and the farmed environment will be built in the years ahead.



But there are concerns within the tenanted farming sector that without landlord consent, farmers will struggle to take part in the flagship ‘public payments for public goods’ policy.

And whilst the Bill provides a 'good framework' for some tenants to appeal against the refusal of their landlords to let them take part in schemes, newer tenants occupying on Farm Business Tenancies (FBTs) are excluded from the appeal process.



The government argues that as FBTs are normally let for shorter terms and therefore renegotiated more often, tenants should be able to negotiate the terms that they need to take part in new schemes.

But the TFA's Chief Executive George Dunn said: “With FBTs representing nearly half the land in the tenanted sector of agriculture in England, it makes no sense that they should be excluded from the appeal process."

Mr Dunn added that the government’s argument 'misunderstood' the way in which the let land market operates.

"With many more people seeking than providing opportunities to farm, landlords are routinely able to dictate the terms under which farms are let.

"Without an adequate appeals process, many FBT tenants will be locked out of future schemes," Mr Dunn said.