NEW GOVERNMENT measures to help tenant farmers diversify and secure a profitable future have been unveiled, backed by nearly £250,000 from DEFRA.

A Code of Practice, designed to stimulate more diversification in the tenanted sector, was published on Monday (Oct 4) by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group.

It comes alongside a DEFRA consultation proposing changes to legislation to make life easier for landlords and tenants.

The Code of Practice provides guidance to help both parties agree terms for diversification projects.

It is backed by an adjudication scheme to handle disputes, which will be funded with £240,000 from DEFRA over the first four years.

The consultation proposals will amend outdated legislation which has so far prevented tenant farmers from branching out into new and profitable areas.

The amendments include:

  • Removing barriers to ensure that diversification does not prevent tenancy succession.
  • Greater flexibility for landlords and tenants to agree rent review provisions.
  • Flexibility for landlords and tenants to agree compensation payable at the end of a tenancy.
  • Flexibility for landlords and tenants to agree the notice period to terminate a tenancy.

Food and farming minister Lord Whitty said: “Tenant farmers are an essential part of the sustainable farming industry we all want to see.

“The code of practice and legislative proposals published today have industry agreement and will help tenant farmers achieve a secure and profitable future.

He added: “I would like to thank the TRIG for producing the Code.

“I am confident that it, backed up by the adjudication scheme, will play a major role in improving the fortunes of tenant farmers.”

TRIG chairman Julian Sayers said: “I hope the practical Code will assist landlords, tenants and their advisors to reach agreement as to suitable terms for farm diversification projects and agri-environment schemes.”

“In today‘s rapidly changing and challenging industry the tenanted sector must be in a position to take advantage of all the appropriate opportunities for the benefit of both parties to a tenancy.”

Responses to the consultation must be made by Dec 24 2004.