The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has published the results of its recent Agri-Environment survey, which captured the opinions of approximately 200 farmers, 90% of whom where reliant wholly or predominantly on tenanted land.
The Survey showed that the principal concern for tenants regarding new agri-environment schemes developed through the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme model being promoted by DEFRA, is the accessibility for tenants and others who do not own the land they farm, including those using rights on common land.
TFA Farm Policy Adviser, Lynette Steel, said “The results of the survey confirm that tenant farmers are concerned that DEFRA does not fully understand or appreciate the diversity of land management models that exist within British agriculture. It is vital that the development of new ELM schemes ensures that payments are made only to those taking the entrepreneurial risk for the activities taking place on land in schemes”.
The results of the survey showed that only 8% of respondents had submitted an Expression of Interest for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Pilot. A further quarter stated that they were interested in SFI but required more information prior to committing to the scheme.
“The low uptake from tenant farmers is concerning as the pilot may not be able to fully test out the implications of the scheme for the tenanted sector. The TFA is also waiting for DEFRA to confirm the makeup, by land occupation, of those who have submitted an expression of interest for the SFI pilot. It will be vital to ensure the pilot is tested thoroughly for all holding types,” said Ms Steele.