Wilts move condemned
TENANT farmers have condemned Wiltshire County Councils proposal to sell a third of its farms to raise funds for projects outside agriculture.
Councillors were voting as FW went to press (Wed) on whether to sell 36 mainly dairy holdings, which would net the local authority £5.6 million but reduce the estate from 106 to 70 farms.
Richard Lander, Wiltshires director of environmental services, said the county council needed to find cash after government had refused to fund its annual capital works programme.
Mr Lander said farm profitability, particularly on dairy holdings, was being eroded due to the BSE crisis, the recent 10% cut in milk price, and milk quota costs.
Nancy Bryant, past Wiltshire NFU chairman and a county councillor, said she was vehemently opposed to the sell-off, claiming the council farms provided the ideal ladder for farmers to enter the industry.
George Dunn, Tenant Farmers Association chief executive, said he was deeply concerned that the attempted sell-off would herald a wholesale diepersal of all the councils farms.