New review aims to support tenant farmers accessing ELM scheme
An independent review chaired by Baroness Kate Roc will look at how tenant farmers and tenancies can be better supported in new environmental land management or ELM scheme.
The Tenancy Working Group will provide tenant farmers an opportunity to make sure the ELM scheme work within agricultural tenancies. In England, land-based subsidies will be replaced with new schemes that support farmers in undertaking measures to boost the environment. But tenant farmers have persistently expressed concern in being unable to access post-Brexit environmental schemes.
There is concern on the extent to which tenants on Farm Business Tenancy (FBT) agreements will be disenfranchised from accessing them due to landlords refusing consent, as well as by landlords who may consider trying to access schemes themselves.
The Tenancy Working Group will work in partnership with tenants and landowners to design the new schemes and support the choices that they make for their own holdings.
Objectives for the group will be to provide independent advice, including how Defra can use scheme design to facilitate participation of and benefits to tenant farmers in new ELM scheme and related schemes.
It will look at ways on how best to foster positive and long-term relationships between tenants and landlords. A report will be published by the Working Group later this year setting out the main conclusions and providing a set of recommendations to Defra.
Baroness Kate Rock said: “Tenant farmers are crucial to our farming industry, our farmed environment, and our farming future. Access to the new schemes will be of utmost importance to secure the long-term sustainability of tenant farming in England. I am delighted to be chairing this timely working group and look forward to engaging fully with all stakeholders involved in the tenanted sector.“
The Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) welcomed the initiative, calling it ‘incredibly important’ for tenant farmers in accessing new schemes.
TFA chief executive, George Dunn said: “It is hugely important that the new working group is established quickly so that its recommendations can be built into the design of the ELM scheme.
“However, it is also important that the working group looks longer term at issues which may need regulatory, legislative or wider policy change.”