UK tenant farmers vulnerable

George Dunn

The Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) is warning that unscrupulous landowners in the UK might end agricultural tenancies before 2014 to expand their claims for CAP funds. The risk to agricultural tenants arises from the way in which the Commission proposes to redefine eligibility for the Single Payment Scheme.

At present, only those who have made a valid claim on at least one hectare of land in 2011 will be eligible to apply for new direct payments in 2014. The TFA knows that there are many landowners who will have made a claim in 2011 while also owning land that is rented out to tenants who themselves have also made claims in 2011 and other years. Any such tenancies which end before 2014 would allow landowners “… to capitalise inappropriately on the new arrangements,” the TFA warns in a statement.

“To avoid this speculation, the TFA has proposed that the allocation of new entitlements should be based on the number of entitlements held by individuals under the existing scheme in 2011,” explained TFA chief executive George Dunn. “However, in order to deal with the period of time that will have elapsed between 2011 and 2014, parties should have the flexibility to affirm specific and unequivocal agreements, dated after the publication of the Commission’s proposals, stipulating clearly that the eligibility to claim entitlements in 2014 based on the 2011 application has been transferred in whole or in part between the parties for fair value.”

Peter Crosskey
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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.