The Landworkers’ Alliance New Entrants policy paper announces a number of targeted policies to support New Entrants in post-Brexit UK agriculture. The proposals include increased funding for training and apprenticeships, a new-entrant capital grant scheme and an immediate halt to the sell-off of council owned farm estates. As an agricultural union representing a young and emerging demographic the LWA is acutely aware that the current subsidy regime undermines the ability of a new generation to gain a foothold in farming.
Since the introduction of area-payments in 2005 the price of farmland has more than doubled1, 35,000 farmers have left the land2 and the average age of UK farmers has risen to over 603. Although there has been a welcome resurgence of students enrolling in the UK’s agricultural colleges and universities over recent years, the challenges of accessing land, skills and capital have ensured that very few first-generation farmers have been able to successfully enter the industry.
‘It’s a common misconception that there is a lack of motivation and ambition among a younger generation to engage with farming as a livelihood, however, for a growing number of young people farming represents a positive response to the challenges of climate change, globalisation and social inequality.’ says LWA spokesperson Jyoti Fernandes. ‘As we enter a period of unprecedented uncertainty regarding both UK agricultural policy and food security it is essential that we recognise and encourage this demographic to bring new ideas and innovation to the agriculture sector.’
‘The policy proposals we are announcing today are based on successful and established models of new-entrant support already operating across Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. These policies have not only facilitated a significant increase in the numbers of first-generation farmers entering the industry but have also led to improvements in efficiency and productivity as new entrants bring new ideas and innovative thinking.’
The LWA has recently launched a 20-page manifesto; Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Recommendations for Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy; that outlines a clear vision for delivering high quality food to local, regional & national markets while supporting truly resilient farming.
Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539 Ι Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754
1: DEFRA (2013) The Common Agricultural Policy after 2013. UK Parliament Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenvfru/671/67104.htm