Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners across Scotland, has called for a new cross industry task force to be established to look at the development of share farming in Scotland.
The recommendation for an in-depth examination of the potential of share farming forms part of Scottish Land & Estates’ submission to the group established by the Scottish Government to review agricultural holdings legislation.
Share farming is already well established in America, Australia and New Zealand and could offer the next generation of farmers the opportunity to get their first foot on the farming ladder without being overburdened by the financial challenges many face through the existing tenancy system.
Luke Borwick, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Whilst existing and historic issues in the tenant farming sector need to be addressed, the agricultural holdings legislation review group is being faced with many contrasting viewpoints in an often polarised debate. We believe that positive measures need to be put in place for the next generation of farmers to ensure that their aspirations are not sidelined.
“One of the ways forward could well be share farming and we are appealing to other organisations in the sector to set up a group which would look specifically at what options may be available.
“No-one is suggesting that this would be a panacea but share farming seems to deliver the dynamism, flexibility and business partnership approach that many of us are trying to achieve in the agricultural system, and should be considered alongside the tenancy vehicles currently available. It offers an alternative way to encourage new entrants.
“It is difficult for new entrants to finance a tenancy and it is also increasingly difficult for young farmers to make a living solely from farming a unit so we believe a close look at share farming could help. No legislative change is required to increase uptake of this model.
“We will be contacting other organisations with a view to taking this forward in a spirit of co-operation. There is no better time for the industry to work together to see how this opportunity can be grasped.”