Friday, 1 August 2014

Farm News Friday - Land Prices and Tenants

On Wednesday we spent the day at the NSA Sheep Event.

It was  fabulous day all round and we enjoyed the whole thing, despite being exhausted by the end. The girls took themselves off to a round of seminars which they found informative and useful and generated pages of notes - not least about the new animal movement reporting system.

We had arranged a meeting with the wonderful George Dunn of the Tenant Farmers Association, to discuss all things tenancy. He was as ever helpful and inspiring, a man of faith and conviction, and a consummate professional. We have  a plan of action to proceed with, in pursuit of our ultimate dream.

On scouring the news for a suitably sheepish story to scribble about for Farm News Friday, I was unfortunately distracted by the headlines about land prices. Here's a link to David Richardson's opinion piece in Farmers Weekly.

Here's the part that made my heart sink:

"What concerns me more, however, are recent developments in the land rental market. Demands made by agents on behalf of owners are seldom talked about in detail in the pub, but there is evidence that some agents, watching the price at which land has been selling, have decided to seriously raise their rental demands. Agricultural Holdings Act rent demands are high enough, but farm business tenancies have always been higher because they are usually added to existing commercial units and the economies of scale are assumed to apply."

So what of the small guy, the tenant, the new entrant, the youngster, the oldster, still patiently pursuing a dream? What about those who give their heart and soul, not to mention their lungs and their livers, clinging onto the first step of The Farming Ladder*?

Once land prices and rent are so high, that not one single person with a bright idea, or a passionate desire to farm above all else, can ever hope to get his or her hands on a single acre - where will farming be then?

And when hard times come, when the nation needs its farmers, as it did in the World Wars we are currently commemorating, what good then will be the sit tight profiteers who never gave a damn about the soil, or the heart of the farm?

 Why haven't we learned?

*Feel like a real historical farming rant, and a bit of between the wars and WW2 farming history - Henderson is unmissable. Only buy it from that link above and I'll get a few pennies, with luck!



Post a Comment