Young farmers welcome review group recommendations

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The Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC) Agri and Rural Affairs Committee have welcomed the release of the final recommendations of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group (AHLRG) and have urged the Scottish government to take it forward to legislation in order to revitalise the tenanted sector in Scotland.

Currently, the shortage of suitable tenancies and a lack of opportunities for succession are major barriers faced by new entrants and young farmers wishing to enter the industry.

In order for Scottish agriculture to develop and thrive, SAYFC believes that young people must be provided with viable opportunities to farm.

The review group has made some very welcome recommendations, including a proposal to allow secure 1991 act tenants to convert their tenancy into a Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT) and the creation of a “modern LDT”, both should stimulate new lettings suitable for new entrants and young people.

The recommendation that the Scottish Government should provide more starter units is also most welcome, as is the recommendation to prioritise Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) funding to new entrants to tenant farming.

While welcomed, it must be noted that the starter farm project itself creates a problem where additional parcels of land are not available for these farmers to move onto. It is our hope that these recommendations give stability to the tenanted land sector and encourage landowners to feel secure in renting out their land for agricultural purposes.