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Publication - Publication

Report on New Farming Starter Opportunities on Publicly Owned Land

Published: 23 Nov 2016
Part of:
Farming and rural
ISBN:
9781786522955

This report shows the steps all public bodies who possess land can take to open up farming to a new generation.

44 page PDF

1.1MB

44 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Report on New Farming Starter Opportunities on Publicly Owned Land
Annex 3

44 page PDF

1.1MB

Annex 3

Mini Consultation Responses

1. What do you assess are the key facilities farmers of the future need in progressing their early career?

Borders New Entrant Group

  • Grant funding to develop business and diversification ideas.
  • Land of all types across Scotland so all enterprises can have new blood e.g. most New Entrants go into sheep as it is a low input system with low capital start-up costs and a low labour requirement, but where is the new blood/opportunities in higher cost systems e.g. veg, dairy, etc.
  • Lower cost of permanent infrastructure.

New Entrant Farmer

  • Land availability is a major stumbling block for New Entrants in Scotland; however, it is not the biggest problem.
  • Lack of access to finance is the single biggest issue facing New Entrants. If finance was more readily available then more New Entrants would be in a position to make use of opportunities when they arise.
  • They may also find alternative routes to the same end goal - e.g. starting out as a contractor rather than the farmer, and moving up the ladder later.
  • I do not think grants are particularly useful in solving this problem. Many of the SRDP grants available have to be paid off in full before any money can be claimed back. If you can afford to pay off the asset in full, why do you need the grant?
  • By having a system of low or 0% loans the person taking the loan feels more responsible for it and more likely to use it for a genuine workable idea. Many grants are taken because they are seen as free money.

Farm and Business Advisor

  • Key facilities: access to resources. Initially access to land so that can put stock on and build up flock/herd (this is key issue). Equipment, suddenly need everything at once; trailer for stock to market, handling system tractor and topper etc. Thought a New Entrants voucher of £x that is placed with local machinery ring and draw down on this as hire in equipment. This may encourage mind set of hiring in rather than magpie syndrome which can increase fixed costs and should help with entering the industry.

Farm Management Group

  • Land is the biggest stumbling block, as without that you couldn't even get a start. Finance was also highlighted as an issue stopping them getting their first foot on the ladder. Particular areas were finance for arable equipment, or for capital items relating to dairy start-ups. Many said they knew of New Entrants in the sheep world, but this wasn't the sector that they hoped to pursue, thus putting them off.

2. What do you regard as the timescale for the different facilities?

Borders New Entrant Group

  • ASAP for all listed in response to Q1.

New Entrant Farmer

  • Finance needs to be in place before a business of any scale can commence trading. The levels of finance may vary but the principle remains the same. Whether the farm is full or part time, the levels of finance required are often similar due to fixed costs.
  • Any loan facility should have a flexible timescale - probably between 1 - 25yrs similar to a mortgage, depending on the amount borrowed. This allows the person taking the loan to mould the finance around their business and aspirations. These should not be available for the purchase of land as this then distorts the land market in favour of New Entrants, but should be available for the purchase of a tenancy.

Farm and Business Advisor

  • Time-scale for access to land/progression on farming ladder. Every case different, to my mind essential to have a churn of land availability to provide step up opportunities and add ons, with New Entrants back filling. Unsure on 5, 10, 15 or 25 year term, again probably need a mix.

Farm Management Group

  • Any support must be consistent in being offered - and that as people move up the ladder then there must be further support available to help facilitate that.

3. What are your views on the potential for a matching service through a central database that helps bring together New Entrants with experienced farmers who have opportunities or land/facilities available?

Borders New Entrant Group

  • Response was mixed: some liked this idea, some were a bit sceptical.
  • Depends on who the "experienced" farmer is and could be complicated if they do not get on. Is the "experienced" farmer a good communicator?
  • Concerns on housing for the two "farmers" on the land.
  • Confidentiality concerns e.g. would need to be a confidential database for the "experienced farmer" and possibly an independent person acting as the "match maker" in an attempt to pair up individuals that would get on and work together. Confidentiality also for the "experienced" person so that his/hers details were not shown on a website as wanting to retire.
  • One suggestion that it could be linked to the census? A tick box if "experienced" farmer would be interested in such a service to gauge interest/feasibility.

New Entrant Farmer

  • It will be rare that you can match an existing farmer ready to retire on a holding of adequate to support a young farmer, with a young farmer that can afford to buy that farmer out of the business/tenancy. Most farmers require the capital realised from a farm sale to retire.
  • There is no reason why handing this on to a New Entrant cannot bypass this part, but again, where does the New Entrant get the capital?
  • I have no problem with the idea, but realistically do not see it solving this industry wide problem.
  • Now, if you got rid of the BPS and ploughed all that money into an extended SRDP scheme open to one and all - that would solve many of the problems!

Business Advisor

  • Matching service. Good proposal question of formal or informal and who facilitates it (Young Farmers movement as most farmers old and new have been members with good memories plus activities are often skill based-mock auction/stock judging so acceptable as a possible facilitator). Transfer of senior farmer skills to New Entrant but also scope for new /young entrant to provide computer skills for online form filling for senior farmer. Is there scope for senior farmer to have a tax break equivalent to loss of SFP etc. this could be tweaked to 'encourage' a churn of land-appreciate this may well not be applicable for public owned land.

Farm Management Group

  • Were very enthusiastic about this idea as had mentioned during Q1 discussions that the biggest factor to them was that they didn't know where to even begin looking or where opportunities might present themselves. There was an Irish student in the fray who was aware of the land mobility service offered in southern Ireland and commented that it had done a lot of good there. ( http://landmobility.ie/)

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