Young farmers need access to longer term tenancies if they are to find a way into farming, according to the new national chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association.
Somerset farmer Jeremy Walker has set out his vision for the tenanted sector at the start of his three-year term as chairman.
“As a first generation farmer myself I know how much of a struggle it is to get a start in farming,” he said.
“Therefore, through my three years as TFA national chairman a key area of concern for me will be to ensure that we have a viable and vibrant farming ladder.
Mr Walker said he was passionate about ensuring that there were good opportunities for young people to enter our industry from outside.
“I never cease to be amazed at the number of young people who come on to TFA stands at shows or to our events asking how they can find a farm and it is heartbreaking when I know that the number of opportunities are so few.”
Mr Walker said there was a need to ensure that there was a sound structure of tenancies available for individuals to be able to build long-term businesses.
Short term farm business tenancies did not provide a reasonable basis for the tenanted sector into the future, he said.
“My hope is that we will see a significant change in this regard and we are already discussing with government how we might use the taxation framework within which land management decisions are made to achieve this.”
Mr Walker is a tenant of The Crown Estate farming 650 acres on both Agricultural Holdings Act and Farm Business Tenancies near Bridgwater in Somerset.
His enterprises include arable, beef, sheep, free range poultry and contract farming. He succeeds Greg Bliss as national chairman.