14 February 1997

SNFU urged to support fixed term tenancies

THE Scottish NFU is doing the industry a grave disservice by refusing to make any move towards fixed term tenancies, according to Northampton farmer John Matts.

"They are working in England and they are getting young people started," he told an Edinburgh conference organised by the Royal Agricultural Societies.

"I know of two specific cases where young men have begged and badgered arable farmers to give them a short-term tenancy of some grassland to start a sheep enterprise. They have both been successful," said Mr Matts who has 2500 early lambing ewes at Creaton.

"Now is the best time to get into the business since I started in sheep in 1982. There are wonderful opportunities. Many arable farmers are tired of the work involved in their sheep enterprise and are willing to lease some grassland to a young tenant. The quota can be leased and a new entrant can come into the industry and I cannot understand the SNFUs reluctance to go down this route."