PCF Trustee leads new Defra working group to support tenant farmers

January 28, 2022

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary has announced an independent review dedicated to looking at how tenant farmers and tenancies can be better supported as farming in England is reformed to be more sustainable.

The Tenancy Working Group will be chaired by Baroness Kate Rock, a Trustee of The Prince’s Countryisde Fund, and will provide tenant farmers and associated stakeholders a further opportunity to make sure the new environmental land management schemes work within agricultural tenancies.

For Defra’s reforms to agriculture to be successful tenant farmers must be able to fully engage in these schemes and contribute to a more sustainable agricultural sector. Objectives for the group will be to provide independent advice to include:

  • how Defra can use scheme design to facilitate participation of and benefits to tenant farmers in new Government ELMs and related schemes
  • consideration of what policy initiatives will secure the long-term sustainability of tenant farming in England
  • how best to foster positive and long-term relationships between tenants and landlords
  • providing advice on ways to minimise any potential loss of land from the tenanted sector to avoid damaging its resilience; and
  • consideration of why it might be necessary to look for new legislative or regulatory powers in the future.

A report will be published by the Working Group later this year setting out the main conclusions and providing a set of recommendations to Defra.

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “We are designing our new schemes in partnership with farmers, and this group will focus specifically on the tenanted sector. We want to identify and explore ways to really make sure that our new schemes work for tenant farmers, and the breadth of knowledge and expertise within this group will allow us to do so.”

Baroness Kate Rock said: “Tenant farmers are crucial to our farming industry, our farmed environment, and our farming future. Access to the new schemes will be of utmost importance to secure the long-term sustainability of tenant farming in England. I am delighted to be chairing this timely working group and look forward to engaging fully with all stakeholders involved in the tenanted sector.”

Read the full announcement on the Defra website here.