Time to Think Anew about Land Tenure, Says NFUS

It is time for the industry to let go of polarising arguments and focus on creating a thriving tenanted sector with secure opportunities for young and new entrants to agriculture, said NFU Scotland at a seminar it hosted in Edinburgh today (Tuesday 28 May 2013).

Scotland’s leading farming and crofting body brought together representatives from all parts of the industry, as well as land tenure experts and politicians to lay out a vision for land tenure in 2020. The Union urged interested parties to put aside well-worn arguments and examine anew the ways in which all parts of the industry can work together for the good of the tenanted farming sector in Scotland.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller, who chaired the event said:

“Land tenure in Scotland is the product of history, changing communities and ever-increasing economic pressure on the rural economy.

“Political interventions have sought to balance tensions within the sector and provide a platform for sustainable farming. There are many successful tenant farming businesses, but a complex mix of drivers have created a growing divergence of tenancy vehicles.

“As a result, our ring-fenced, traditional tenanted sector increasingly operates in a climate of short-termism, which is inhibiting investment and new entrants to farming.

“Today’s seminar is about the future; it is not about tuning today’s operating environment but creating a blueprint for aspiring farmers in their twenties and thirties.  If we are to move to a more collaborative era we, in the rural sector, must embrace change and drive it.

“We need to start exploring areas like share-farming, rent for reconstruction, freedom of contract and other devices.  These were all on the agenda today and could be the basis for creating new opportunities in Scotland’s land tenure system.”


  • The agenda for NFU Scotland’s land tenure seminar at Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh today is:

10.00    Introduction, Nigel Miller, NFUS President
10.15    Work of the Tenant Farming Forum (TFF), Phil Thomas, Chairman TFF
10.30    Freedom of Contract, Clive Phillips, Solicitor, Brodies
10.45    Address, Angus McCall, Former chairman Scottish Tenant Farmers Association
11.00    Creating the right climate for pragmatic solutions, John Glen, CEO Buccleuch Estate
1.30      Address, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead
2.15      New Generation perspective, Iain Mackay and Stuart Wylie, members of NFU Scotland’s New Generation group
3.00      Break out groups - Should economies of scale drive agriculture in future? / Does freedom of contract have a role? / How do we incentivise long-term arrangements and opportunities for new business?
5.00     Close, Nigel Miller

Click here to view the presentation by Phil Thomas

Click here to view the presentation by Clive Philips


Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 74/13

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