Andrew Thin has been appointed as Scotland’s new independent advisor on tenant farming.
Mr Thin – who was a member of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group – has been tasked with working with the three main tenant farming industry bodies as sector reforms are taken forward. The role of independent advisor on tenant farming is a short-term one and has been created until legislation can be brought forward to establish a Tenant Farming Commissioner with statutory powers – one of the main recommendations of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review.
Mr Lochhead said:
“I am delighted to confirm that Andrew Thin as the new independent advisor on tenant farming. He is trusted and well respected by industry and, during the review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation, cultivated a deep knowledge of tenant farming issues.
“His task now is to continue the work that began during the review process, to foster more positive and productive tenant and landlord relationships. This is vital if we are to achieve the vibrant and healthy tenant farming sector which is so crucial for the future of Scottish agriculture and food production.
“I know that industry are keen to have a Tenant Farming Commissioner with statutory powers in post as soon as possible, in line with the review recommendations, but this will require legislation and to go through the public appointment process which can take some time. That is why Andrew has been appointed to this post in the interim, so that we do not lose momentum and go back to the way things were.”
Andrew Thin said:
“I am delighted and flattered to be invited by the Cabinet Secretary to take up this role. The success of the review last year was largely a consequence of the enthusiastic way in which stakeholders engaged with the process. As a result we are now well on the way to rebuilding tenant farming in Scotland as the modern business relationship that it needs to be, and I will do everything that I can to keep that process moving forward in the same spirit of collaboration.”
David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates said:
“Scottish Land & Estates has supported the proposal for the introduction of a Tenant Farming Commissioner and indeed an Interim Advisor who has the role of enhancing landlord/tenant relationships. While the vast majority of landlords and tenants get on well, it is important that relationships work and are constructive across the board and that steps are taken to address the small minority of cases where relationships have broken down.
“We will support the Interim Advisor, and subsequently the Commissioner, in their efforts to support and enhance the tenant farming sector. It is a vital role that the whole industry should get behind. Andrew is well placed to take on the role of Interim Advisor because of his prior experience in senior positions in public life and because of the in-depth insight into the tenancy sector he gained during the review process. We look forward to working constructively with him in the coming months."
Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) Executive Director Angus McCall said:
“STFA welcomes the news that Andrew Thin has been appointed adviser on tenant farming to the Cabinet Secretary as an interim measure to bridge the gap before the appointment of a permanent Tenant Farming Commissioner.
“There is bound to be uncertainty over the next couple of years until the new reforms become law and it is important that interim measures are put in place to advise and guide the industry as well as keeping a watchful eye on what is going on. This appointment will create confidence in the sector and revive some of the industry initiatives which were in danger of floundering without strong independent leadership.
“Andrew Thin is already well-known to the tenanted sector as a member of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group. In that role he has worked with tenants and landlords and understands the issues and challenges. Andrew is well equipped to provide a firm hand in leading, guiding and regulating the sector over the next couple of years and STFA looks forward to getting down to work with Andrew in moving towards a simpler, fairer and peaceful future for the next generation of tenant farmers.”