THE Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is warning that up to half of tenant farmers may be excluded from new Government schemes developed to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and access to developing markets for carbon and biodiversity offsets.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said “Up to half of the tenanted sector of agriculture in England and Wales operates under Farm Business Tenancies (FBTs) which are characterised both by very short lengths of term and restrictive clauses. In many cases tenants are not allowed to enter Government schemes for the improvement of the environment without their landlord’s consent and it is also often the case that landlords themselves reserve the right to take the benefit of new schemes themselves.”

He added: “Despite the TFA’s strong lobbying, it is unfortunate that the Government decided not to include provisions within the Agriculture Act which would have protected access to new schemes for tenants occupying under FBTs. The Government must now address these issues through the way it designs schemes to protect access for tenant farmers.

“The TFA recognises the opportunity to develop new schemes targeting the environment and new markets for positive carbon and biodiversity management which will replace funding under the CAP over time. However, we cannot support a situation where the funding is removed from tenant farmers and is received instead by their landlords. Landlords are entitled to receive rent in return for granting exclusive occupation of their land to active farmers. They should not be able to capitalise directly through Government schemes and other arrangements.”