The Rock Review: Working together for a thriving agricultural tenanted sector. What might it mean for Tenant Farmers in England?

Approximately a third of farmed land in England is tenanted, resulting in tenant farmers being vital to the nation’s food production, sustainability and land management.

The New Tenancy Working group has been introduced by the Environment secretary that will provide independent advice to Defra to support the tenanted sector.

The Rock Review, chaired by Baroness Kate Rock, was commissioned by Defra in January 2022 to improve the relationship between the stakeholders: tenants, landlords and agents, as well as the sustainability across the farming sector.

With roughly a third of farmed land in England being tenanted, tenant farmers are vital to the nation’s food production, sustainability and land management.

The clear objectives have risen within the Tenancy working group: investigate how the government financial schemes should be accessible and flexible to tenant farmers in the long term.

Tenant farmers face multiple barriers, such as: rent requirements, restrictive clauses and the ability to access government schemes, all of which cause uncertainty, creating a difficult environment to grow a successful business.

The recommendations that are stated within The Rock Review are balanced to increase the interest between the landlord and tenant to enable a more collaborative landlord-tenant relationship that will create mutually beneficial outcomes.

The immediate recommendations include Defra providing incentives to improve the infrastructure of tenanted buildings and incentivise landlords to offer tenancies to new entrants.

The Rock Review details over 70 recommendations, both long and short term, to deliver on the aims and objectives of the Tenancy Working Group.

Through the recommendations, the aim is to:

1) Encourage longer-term tenancy agreements that provide stability and assurance so tenants can access schemes, make long-term business plans, and invest in their holding;

2) Allow tenants to access new public and private schemes through flexibility in their tenancy agreement and in scheme design;

3) Create incentives for tenants and landlords to invest and improve the knowledge and infrastructure within the tenanted sector.

To achieve the vision, Defra needs to immediately provide investment in order to support new entrants, and systematically collect information on land management to measure the success of its schemes.

With long-term structural and legislative changes, the recommendations throughout The Rock Review need to implemented from ideas at this stage.

If you are a landlord or tenant and require advice on either current or future tenancies, please contact your local Stags office.

The demands within the UK are extremely competitive with the finite resource of land, due to food production, housing developments, tree planting and energy production.

This is why it is important that Defra and other governmental departments need to act to create an innovative business for the tenanted sector.