Defra and the Welsh Government have launched two 12-week consultations to seek industry views on modernising and improving agricultural tenancy legislation.
The proposals in the consultations, which will run simultaneously, are based upon the recommendations of the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG), which has provided advice on policies to support the tenanted sector after Brexit.
They seek to facilitate structural change by encouraging better succession planning and boost productivity, investment and environmental opportunities to ensure tenant farmers become more competitive.
The Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) has previously criticised the UK Government for failing to include TRIG’s recommendations in the Agriculture Bill.
TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “It is great to see some of the ideas discussed by TRIG gaining wider exposure, as it was disappointing the Agriculture Bill failed to feature any reference to agricultural tenancies.
“Important changes do need to be made to the Bill to ensure farm tenants are not left out of new policy initiatives.”
The consultations will contain some radical proposals, including allowing tenants to sell their interest through tenancy assignments to assist retirement; providing tenants greater leverage over restrictive user clauses which prevent them from diversifying or entering public goods schemes and incentivising landlords to let new Farm Business Tenancies of ten years or more.
But the TFA has warned the Government’s failure to look at how the tax system can be changed to benefit tenants may hinder the sector’s progress.
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are seeking views on how we can open up more opportunities for the next wave of tenant farmers, breathe new life into the sector and step up farming productivity.
“The policy framework for agricultural tenancies needs to be fit for the future, and I welcome all views on the proposals set out in this consultation.”
In Wales, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said she was ‘determined to put the industry in the best possible position to thrive in the future’.
“We are urging everyone in the sector to share their views so we can gain an insight into the issues they are facing and ensure the new regulations are fit for purpose,” she added.
The deadline for responses to the consultations is July 2 2019.