Policy makers need to think more about tenants

Policy makers need to remember that the tenanted sector is significant one and should not be overlooked, the Tenant Farmers Association has warned.

The TFA said government needed to ensure that government policy takes the intricacies of landlord tenant relationships into account in the development of new policy.

“The tenanted sector is responsible for farming at least one third of the agricultural area of England and Wales,” said TFA national vice-chairman Stephen Wyrill.

“In addition, the TFA is aware of a significant amount of informal letting arrangements where rent changes hands on the basis of little more than a hand shake.  Adding this together with the formally recorded tenanted sector could bring the total amount of land farmed by non-owners under some form of tenancy agreement to around 40% of the total agricultural area of England and Wales.  It is therefore a very significant constituency of interest in its own account”.

Mr Wyrill said in view of the importance of tenant farms the TFA was concerned that those who develop government policy for agriculture unconsciously assume that all farmers are owner-occupiers and able to make their own decisions about how to respond to government schemes and initiatives. 

“However, for those farming as tenants, decisions have to be made within a more complex set of circumstances.  How the tenant farmer responds to policy will have much to do with the impact of tenancy legislation, the framework of the tenancy agreement in place and the ongoing relationship with the owner of the land being farmed.  It is essential that the government takes this into account,” he said.