The Scottish Executive is to consult on ways to reduce the barriers new entrants face when entering farming.
The Tenant Farming Forum, representing six organisations including NFU Scotland and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, has been asked to carry out the consultation and report by the end of the year.
The findings will form the basis of a new entrants’ scheme, flagged up as a priority in Scotland’s £1.6bn Rural Development Programme, which is awaiting Brussels approval.
The Scottish government has earmarked £10m to finance an interest-subsidy scheme for new entrants.
But ministers believe the availability of capital and access to low interest rates is only one of the stumbling blocks which potential new entrants face.
“We are embarking on a series of roadshows over the next few weeks to encourage public debate on all the issues and identify the real barriers facing new entrants into farming,” said TFF chairman, Jeff Maxwell.
Scotland’s environment minister, Mike Russell, said all options were open and new legislation was not ruled out although this would be a last resort.
He was speaking at the launch of the TFF website and publication of a Guide to Good Relations between Landlord and Tenants.
“The key to a healthy and profitable farm tenancy sector in Scotland is confidence and trust,” said Mr Russell.
“It can’t be done by Act of Parliament alone. Landlord and tenants must have confidence and trust in each other for the business relationship to work. Short-term tenancies offer an important route into farming for new entrants.”
Prof Maxwell said the aim of the initiative was to promote a healthy farm tenancy sector in Scotland.
The guide covers the main issues between landlord and tenant including letting, settling rents, improvements and repairs, diversification and succession.
- The web site can be viewed on www.tenantfarmingforum.org.uk