THE CLA has launched a drive to encourage share farming, maintaining that a wider uptake of this could open up new opportunities for young people to get their first foot on the farming ladder.
CLA president Henry Robinson said: “Even if a quarter of the country’s farmers aged more than 65 years entered into a share farming agreement, it would allow more than 3,000 new entrants to start working the land.
“This is a simple solution to one of the industry’s most pressing problems – that of an ageing profile.
“Share farming not only offers older farmers a way of reducing their workload while maintaining an income but also gives new entrants an increasingly rare opportunity to start a career in agriculture.
“Share farming differs from traditional contract farming in that both parties share the risk and the profits on a pre-agreed percentage.
“The existing farmer simply provides a proportion of his farmland for the partner to work.
“The problem with the traditional farming arrangement is that a farmer is either in or out.
“Share farming provides a middle ground whereby an ageing farmer, who cannot afford to retire, can start to wind down without having to worry about paying the bills.
“A share farming agreement really is very straightforward and we have produced an easy-to-use advisory handbook that guides farmers through all the basics they need to get up and running, including a template agreement.”
CLA South West director John Mortimer said: “Every agricultural college is full of talented and enthusiastic students but too many of these bright young people have no means of progressing a career in agriculture.
“With the limited availability of farmland, share farming offers a real hope for the many young people desperate to get into the industry.
“This is an exciting project for us and we are working with the Federation of Young Farmers to look at ways of pairing up older farmers with younger people who are ready and willing to work.”
For a copy of An Option for Enterprising Farmers, go to the website at cla.org.uk/transfers/North/ShareFarmingweb.pdf