24th Dec


Media Release 17 – 2014: A Year of Promises and Pitfalls

2014: A Year of Promises and Pitfalls

The Tenant Farmers Association’s National Chairman, Jeremy Walker, believes that 2014 will be a year of both promises and potential pitfalls for the farming community.

“After two years punctuated by extremes of weather, generally speaking the backend of this year has been more benign and it is hoped that this will continue into next year.  The financial position of many farm businesses at the current time can best be described as fragile and there is a need for a year of consolidation allowing a rebuilding of resilience for what might lie ahead.  To achieve this, we look for support from the banking industry which has, on the whole, kept faith with farming through these difficult periods.  We also need landlords to take a realistic approach on rents, investment and maintenance,” said Mr Walker.

“Landlords have been used to seeing uplifts in farm rents over recent years.  However, notices served for rent reviews in 2014 will apply to holdings last reviewed in 2011 when margins were appreciably better than are being forecast for next year.  Landlords agents therefore need to take a realistic approach to next year’s reviews and ensure that the expectations of their clients are managed appropriately.  The TFA does not see that there is scope for further increases to rents which were properly reviewed in 2011,” said Mr Walker.

“As the ‘i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed’ on the European Regulations for the new CAP, domestically our devolved administrations will be pedalling hard through 2014 to ensure that schemes under both Pillar one and Pillar two are ready for launch at the beginning of 2015.  Despite the good performance of Mark Grimshaw’s Rural Payments Agency team in more recent times, the dark days of 2005 will loom large over the staff of the RPA particularly as we are seeing the development of new computer systems to operate the new policies.  Given the past, poor performance of Government departments in being able to deliver major IT projects on time and on budget it is inevitable that there will be major risks of problems occurring.  This will be exacerbated by a number of outstanding policy issues yet to be determined which will have inevitable impacts on implementation,” said Mr Walker.

“The TFA would also like 2014 to be the year that we begin to see longer tenancies granted in the marketplace.  Since the introduction of farm business tenancies in 1995 average length of term have rarely been more than four years.  The TFA believes that at least 10 year agreements should be more the norm.  With the major planks of the CAP policy now in place and with a very benign taxation environment, the TFA believes that there is no excuse for landlords in not granting longer terms at this time and if we do not see the demonstration of this in the marketplace, we will be looking for the Government’s assistance in making this aspiration a reality,” said Mr Walker.

Ref:  MR17

Date: 23 December 2013

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact Jeremy Walker on 01823 412353 or TFA Chief Executive George Dunn on 07721 998961.

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