Media Release 09 – Cap Reform Implementation Must Respect Farm Tenants

Tenant Farmers Association National Chairman, Jeremy Walker, will use a speech to a high level seminar on CAP Reform in London on Thursday to say that, now we have the high-level, political agreement for the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European and domestic implementing regulations must take proper account of the needs and aspirations of tenant farmers.

“All too often policymakers in the agricultural arena make the false assumption that all farmers are owner occupiers. The policy impacts are often different for tenant farmers in comparison to owner occupiers. It is key that policymakers understand the different rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants encapsulated both within legislation and the contracts of tenancy between parties” said Mr Walker.

“The TFA agrees that there should continue to be a system for the delivery of direct payments which requires the occupier of land to hold sufficient entitlements to claim the payment by matching entitlements to land. However, the selection of a future date for occupation to trigger an entitlement allocation, albeit coupled with some form of historic claim, is a gift to landlords, particularly those who have let their holdings on short terms to provide them with vacant possession in time for the implementation of the new CAP arrangements. The TFA therefore welcomes the option, at least in England, for existing entitlements to be rolled forward. Care will need to be taken elsewhere, particularly in Wales, to ensure that landlords are not able to capitalise on the allocation of new entitlements to the detriment of tenant farmers,” said Mr Walker.

The TFA has also been concerned about individuals who are not actively managing land themselves but who are still able to access CAP funding schemes even where they are allowing other individuals to actively use the land upon which they are making their claims.

“The TFA has been a vocal advocate for the inclusion of a viable definition for active farmers in this reform. The TFA believes that an active farmer should be defined as the person in occupation of the land being used for making the claim, who is also in close management control of the activities on that land and bearing the entrepreneurial risk from those activities. Individuals who are unable to meet these criteria should be barred from making claims,” said Mr Walker.

The TFA has also become increasingly concerned about the extent to which land owners have been able to access agri-environment schemes even where they have tenant farmers farming their land and claiming direct payments – often referred to as “dual use”.

“The TFA does not believe that dual use is in keeping with the spirit and principles of the CAP and access to agri-environment payments by landlords must be curtailed in the same way as for direct payments under Pillar 1,” said Mr Walker.

Ref: MR09  |  Date: 08 July 2013

Notes for Editors:

Jeremy Walker will be speaking at the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Keynote Seminar: “Implementing the Common Agricultural Policy and the future of UK farming” on 11 July in London.

For further information contact the TFA’s Communications and Events Coordinator Julie Sheehan on 0118 930 6130.


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