Don’t marginalise tenant farmers

Encompassing nearly a quarter of Scotland’s farmed land, the tenanted sector can play a significant role in achieving the overall aims of any new agricultural policy and should not be marginalised from itsdevelopment.

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association managing director Doug Bell.
Scottish Tenant Farmers Association managing director Doug Bell.

While the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) this week welcomedthe Scottish Government’s consultation on “Agricultural Transitionin Scotland” and said it looked forward to engaging with the process,some disappointment was evident that the organisation hadn’t beengranted a seat on the new Agriculture Reform Implementation OversightBoard (ARIOB).“STFA would have liked to have seen tenants have a stronger sectoralinterest represented on the ARIOB, but welcome the diverse andwide-ranging farming, geographical and environmental experience andexpertise of board members and look forward to working with them overthe coming months,” said the organisation’s new managing director,Doug Bell.He added that the transition towards a new sustainable farming policywould present the tenanted sector with some unique challenges, with thepossibility that the sector could be excluded from benefiting frompotential land use changes.And he said that the impacts of policy change on those renting farmland,were potentially much more wide-ranging in terms of eligibility for, andaccess to, whatever new measures were introduced.“The tenanted sector encompasses nearly a quarter of Scotland’sagricultural land. The role tenant farmers can play in achieving theobjective of sustainable food production while addressing the climatechange and bio-diversity agendas must not be under-estimated orconstrained,” said Bell.

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