12 January 2001
Farm tenancy law under review

By FWi staff

THE government is to carry out a full review of agricultural tenancy laws in a move which will fulfil a promise made before Labour came to power in 1997.

The Ministry of Agriculture is in the process of appointing consultants to carry out a full assessment of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995.

The evaluation should be completed by the end of the year.

Ken Oliver, chairman of the National Farmers Union tenants committee, said the review would be of huge importance to a large number of people.

“Tenant farmers, more than any other sector, are highly exposed to financial pressures and restrictions because they do not own the land they farm.”

It was important that the review embraced the changes in agriculture and how the legislation may respond better to challenges facing tenant farmers, he added.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said the review would fulfil a promise made by Labour when it was in opposition.

The TFA would be pointing out that Farm Business Tenancies were not supplying all the benefits that had promised, he said.

While they had brought a tremendous amount of land into the tenanted sector they had not brought in many new entrants or allowed farm tenants to restructure.

“It would appear that an awful lot of new land has gone to existing owner- occuperis who have paid over the odds for land,” he said.