Tenant farmers have spoken out about being let down by ‘middle-man’ land agents who fail to recognise the importance of the landlord-tenant relationship.
Responding to a presentation by Tim Heddema, agricultural counsellor at the Embassy of the Netherlands, at NFU Tenants Conference 2019, former NFU Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire county chairman Gary Speirs said the UK was falling behind in efficiency levels due to ‘narrow-minded’ planning authorities and land agents.
He said: “Anyone that has visited Holland cannot help but be blown away by the efficiency of Dutch agriculture, so much of which relies on infrastructure and investment in infrastructure.
“We have so rarely a combination of useful thoughts from the landlord and the tenant directly. And there is a land agent in-between who causes conflict.
“There are very few land agents who look at things long-term and expect to have a good relationship with the tenants.”
The theme was a hot topic at the conference, which heard of a need for a breakthrough of traditional and stereotypical landlord-tenant relationships.
NFU deputy vice-president Stuart Roberts said he thought there were ‘more innovative ways of land tenure management’.
National Trust director of land and nature Mark Harold said the Trust was looking for ‘open and trusting relationships’ and ‘flexibility both ways’.
“I hope that institutional landowners like ourselves, as we look forward, can somehow change that paradigm of landlord and tenant to more of a partner,” he said.