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Young farmer focus: Kerry Gratton - 'Access to land is a barrier to young farmers'

Kerry Gratton, 19 from Spalding, Lincolnshire, is a fifth-generation farmer living on an arable holding and is working towards becoming a rural surveyor. 

Background

 

I have seen first-hand the difficulties of expanding and establishing tenant holdings within rural communities, which I feel coincides with the demise of accessibility of rental land.

 

This is not to say that the opportunities are not available to expand small holdings however, due to the increased growth in industrialised farming, I believe that it is slowly becoming harder for young farmers to acquire agricultural tenancies if they are not already from a farming background with networking facilities.

 

With my increasing interest in agriculture, I am currently working towards becoming a rural surveyor which has been my career goal since 2016, working within a firm where I can develop my knowledge further with a supportive network before going to university to study rural land management.

 

YFC

 

As a member of my local young farmers club I have been able to expand my farming network with those of a similar age and background, discussing openly current affairs within agriculture including issues surrounding family holdings.


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Within my club, I feel many young farmers between the ages of 18 to 26 are struggling to establish themselves locally as self-employed farmers due to the accessibility of affordable land to rent within my community becoming increasingly more scarce, creating difficulties as tenanted farm holdings are crucial in starting a career away from much larger, established farms.


I have seen the drive from many younger farmers who would relish the opportunity of more short- and longer term tenancy opportunities becoming available which, if work well for them, they can hope to expand and build upon in the local area.

 

Covid-19

 

In connection with purchasing land to farm, I believe Covid-19 has led to a resurgence of interest in land due to interest rates reducing, seeing investors take money out of interest related investments and putting it in to tangible assets including land.

 

I feel land has become an increasingly sought-after way to invest due to being tangible which, in the current climate, appeals to many individuals/businesses as it is better to invest in for factors including increased return (compared to cash deposits in the bank) and value retention over a period of time.

 

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