A campaign to make more land available for new entrants to agriculture has been launched by Sir Don Curry, policy adviser to the last government.

He wants landlords of large estates to retain a pool of land on which enterprising farm entrepreneurs could develop their business ideas.

“I have in mind farms between 250-500 acres, depending on geographical location and farm type, that could be retained within large estate portfolios specifically to be let on an FBT, or by an alternative arrangement, to a younger person.

“It might be helpful if these farms had diversification opportunities to help ensure they were economically sustainable.”

Sir Don emphasised the importance of County Council farms as an entry into agriculture and called on Council’s to stop selling off holdings to raise revenue.

He encouraged Local Authorities to ensure that prospective tenants were taken on with the clear understanding that they used their “starter farm” opportunity to establish a business and move on to larger units within an agreed timescale.

The Fresh Start Initiative said it was following up Sir Don’s initiative by seeking discussions with large private and institutional landowners through its national stakeholder group.