Study to look at increasing the availability of farmland for new entrants

The Scottish Land Commission is commissioning a study looking at the possible options to increasing the availability of farmland for new entrants.

The average age of Scotland’s tenant farming population is increasing, with 37% of tenant farmers aged 65 and over. For a thriving farming sector there needs to be new entrants to drive innovation and best practice, improve efficiencies and contribute towards the economic vitality of the sector.

Recent studies have found that the one of the biggest issues facing new entrants to Scotland’s tenant farming sector is the lack of access to land. This work will look at new and alternative ways for increasing the availability of land for those who want to farm in Scotland.

The Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC), Bob McIntosh, is working with the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) campaign New Generation, to engage with farmers to discuss the barriers to entry and provide guidance.

Bob McIntosh explains:

“This is an important body of work which will look at the current options for farmers and landowners for succession and retirement whilst providing business opportunities for new entrants.

“Working with NFUS we plan to hold a series of joint roadshows based on the guidance to encourage existing farmers and landowners who, in developing their own business interests, could offer opportunities for new entrants.

“A discussion paper has also been commissioned which will explore ways of stimulating the tenanted sector by the development of different approaches and incentives for the letting of land. This will be published in the new year and will also inform the discussions.

“It is important that this issue is discussed and addressed now to secure the future of a thriving and prosperous tenant farming sector.”

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said:

“Our New Generation Group has been very active this year, and continues to go from strength to strength. NFUS is looking at ways to keep up the momentum, and work towards finding solutions for the next generation wishing to get into farming, and the older generation wishing to step back.

“This work ties in with NFUS work on share farming, which we are very excited about.”

Completed quotes must be submitted via PCS by 12 noon on 18 January 2018.