Aberconwy MS urges for review to protect local tenant farmers

November 18, 2021 - 403 views

In a question to the Welsh Government’s Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, has urged the devolved Government to undertake a review into what steps can be implemented to further protect tenant farms, allowing for longer contracts as a means of supporting proactive work on bettering soil health and tree planting. 

Nearly 30% of agricultural land in Wales is tenanted, with these holdings providing a crucial steppingstone for young farmers as they enter the industry. Recently, Mrs. Finch-Saunders wrote for The National Wales newspaper outlining that tree planting to offset carbon is forcing out Welsh farmers. 

Speaking outside the Siambr after the intervention, she said: “As many farmers and agricultural stakeholders can attest, the ability of tenants to plan long-term for their families and implement sustainable practices is undermined by the rules.

"In the majority of cases, we also know that tenant farmers are unable to plant trees due to restrictive clauses within their agreements. 

“NFU Cymru’s Growing Together strategy found that policies that drive tree planting, particularly where funding exceeds levels of support available for agricultural land, have the potential to impact on short-term tenancies, which can be at risk of termination by landlords. 

“Given that a thriving tenanted sector is vital for productive and progressive farming, the Welsh Government should review what steps are required to allow greater flexibility, elongate contracts to allow for the implementation of sustainable soil practices, and to safeguard against another negative aspect of tree planting policies.”