DEFRA accused of being short-sighted over tenant funding

The NFU has said it is unhappy that cash ear-marked to help tenant farmers diversify has been pulled after only 12 months.

Money has been available to provide an adjudication scheme, established by the Code of Good Practice for Agri-environment Schemes and Diversification Projects within agricultural tenancies.
But in a letter to the chairman of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, junior DEFRA minister Lord Rooker said that after only twelve months operation of the scheme, the lack of take-up means that funding will be redirected elsewhere. 
NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “This kind of action appears to show a lack of interest by DEFRA in the tenanted sector. Moreover there is no assurance this money will stay within farming, let alone the tenanted sector.
“To pull the plug on the scheme after only 12 months is short-sighted. The point is the whole negotiating process between landlords and tenants can take longer than that.
“The NFU will be seeking an assurance from DEFRA that tenants who have already started a diversification negotiation using the code of conduct will be allowed to use the adjudication scheme after the end of December.”