The Welsh Government has been criticised for failing to understand the needs of tenant farmers in Wales.
The chairman of the newly-formed Tenant Farmers’ Association Cymru, Dennis Matheson, said the devolved administration must be more in tune with the tenanted sector.
“The Welsh Government doesn’t really think about tenants,” he said at the launch of TFA Cymru at Builth Wells on Tuesday (6 November).
Mr Matheson hoped his membership of the Welsh Government’s ‘Working Smarter’ group, a body created to investigate the regulatory burden on Welsh farmers, would help to bring about change in the tenanted sector.
The establishment of TFA Cymru is a direct result of devolution. Many of the policies applicable to tenants in Wales differ from those in place in England.
George Dunn, TFA chief executive, said although the tenancy laws were the same in both countries, many policies differed, such as dual use of land for which a farmer may be claiming the single farm payment while someone else, typically a landlord, could use the same land to claim under an agri-environment scheme.
“Dual use has been banned completely in Wales, but in England it continues,” said Mr Dunn. “There is also a different approach by both governments to bovine TB, sfp modelling and many other policies.
“As policies develop and take a different course, the pressures on farmers are different, therefore at the TFA we need a different approach. The creation of TFA Cymru is a mechanism for better representing our members in Wales.”
Currently, only 3% of the TFA’s membership is based in Wales, so initially TFA Cymru will be administered from the Reading headquarters. But Mr Matheson is confident that membership will now grow. “The more we grow, the more we will be able to influence the environment within which tenant farmers in Wales operate,” he said.
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