With the average age of farmers reaching almost 60, it has been estimated tens of thousands of new entrants will be needed to enter the farming industry over the next decade.
Some of the biggest obstacles to entering the industry are often the price of land and the associated start-up costs.
Kathryn Lewis, a land agent with Davis Meade Property Consultants, said: “Although most opportunities to enter the farming world come through succession or inheritance, this may not always be possible or even an option for many aspiring Young Farmers.
“It can also be challenging to tender against established farming business in the private rental sector. There are, however, currently great opportunities for young farmers to establish their businesses by applying for county council smallholdings.”
County councils in recent years have played a proactive role in encouraging young farmers into the industry through giving opportunities to start up and establish their own farming business.
This opportunity allows new entrants to then go on to expand their business and compete for larger farms in the private rented or owner occupied sector.
Miss Lewis, 24, secured the tenancy of a 22-hectare (54-acre) smallholding near Montgomery, on the Powys County Council estate and runs beef and sheep. Another 4ha (10 acres) are rented in.
She and her partner Richard Williams are both from farming families. Miss Lewis said: “With any farm tender application you will usually be required to produce a business plan setting out your proposals for the subject farm, a cashflow forecast, projected profit and loss accounts and a sensitivity analysis to show how you will react to market changes.
“The documents submitted will be the landlord’s first impression of you and therefore the quality of your submission will ultimately determine whether or not you will be shortlisted and called for interview,” she said.
With first hand experience in applying for a smallholding, she is well equipped to advise would-be farmers on the application process.
“There is also a network of additional support, particularly in Wales through Farming Connect which can offer grants towards training and the Young Entrants Support Scheme to assist with the purchase of many capital items,” she added.
Of all the points to have covered, said Miss Lewis, presentation of your initial tender and documents is essential.
She added: “The standard tender document includes details of your present employment, education, current stock, financial standing, your tender sum for the farm and a brief description of your plans for the holding.
“This document therefore needs to be well thought out and tick all of the council’s requirements to enable you to progress onto the next stage.
“You will be asked to then submit a three-, four- or five-year cashflow, a business plan detailing the stock you currently have/will purchase, how you will manage the farm, and if you will obtain any external funding for example, young entrants scheme, Glastir, SPS, Entry Level and Higher Level Stewardship.
“Finally, prepare for the interview and know your business plan inside out - and be enthusiastic about the farm and your plans.”