17 December 2018
Knowing what you, as a tenant farmer, are entitled to as well as your obligations to your landlord, is essential for making sure your livelihood is protected as much as possible.
This will be one of the key messages from Farming Connect, which will be reaching out to tenant farmers throughout Wales early in the New Year, inviting them to book their place at a series of regional ‘Tenant Farmer Forums. They will be the first events of this type provided specifically or tenant farmers, but if there is sufficient demand, Farming Connect will be keen to provide further support for this sector.
Arranged from 7pm to 9.30pm, dates and locations for this round of events include the Ivy Bush Hotel Carmarthen on 4 January; Llanddewi Village Hall, Llandrindod Wells on 10 January and Glasdir in Llanrwst on 28 January.
Eirwen Williams, director of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect on behalf of the Welsh Government, explained that the events are being provided to meet the needs of a large number of tenant farmers who are trying to run viable, successful businesses under different and often difficult restraints, without the security of collateral in land assets which can obstruct business growth and diversity.
“Tenant farmers are often faced with hidden clauses in their tenancy agreements which can restrict business development, which is why it’s essential they understand the intricacies of their tenancy agreements and know how they can strengthen their borrowing capacity,” said Mrs. Williams.
The purpose of the Farming Connect ‘Tenant farmer forums’ is to create a platform which brings together tenant farmers to help them understand their agreements, to have realistic expectations and learn how to overcome some of the issues they face. They will also provide Farming Connect with more insight into the main barriers facing the sector, which will enable them to develop further support services to help farmers manage or overcome these.
The programme for each forum will include a presentation from George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) and from Mrs Manon Williams, a specialist rural solicitor with Wales based rural law firm Agri Advisor. Mrs Elaine Rees Jones, a specialist rural adviser with Menter a Busnes, whose husband is a tenant farmer, will facilitate an interactive session when delegates will be encouraged to voice their concerns and discuss typical issues. The event will close with a Q&A session.
Mr Dunn says that a large proportion of tenant farmers, ranging from those who are farming the smallest county council holdings to others running units of several hundreds of acres are insufficiently informed about their rights when it comes to negotiating arrangements with landlords.
“Many issues are likely to arise during the lifetime of an agricultural tenancy, but most can be solved with good landlord-tenant communication, informed consent and careful consideration by both parties.”
Tenancy agreements; succession planning; repairs and maintenance and consents for new buildings will be some of the issues discussed, as will breaches of tenancy terms which may lead to legal notices to remedy and notices to quit.
“Some tenant farmers may be considering surrendering their tenancies, while others may be looking for more land.
“It’s essential that all tenant farmers are aware of exactly what is required of them and the long-term implications.
“If they are giving up a tenancy, regardless of any incentives such as a payment or a dwelling house and similarly, if offered more land, they need to understand their rights and responsibilities,” said Mr. Dunn.
All places must be booked in advance by calling Meinir Parry on 01248 660376 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Farming Connect is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.