Time to turn land challenges into opportunities
The words challenging and unprecedented have been used a great deal understandably over the past few weeks but what we have seen is a renewed spirit and innovative ways to deal with some of these challenges in the UK. Alongside this, this has also been a sharpening of focus on food production and provenance. Perhaps we have been given us time to allow a step back and re assess our lives and how we may wish to go forwards in the future especially if you are a new entrant.
Land Matching, bringing those seeking land together with those who may have land to offer has now been running in the UK for the past five years. But what has been significant is the marked increase of people looking at this route to access land since Covid 19 really took hold within the UK.
Now this could be attributed to people having more time currently to carry out research into land access, but I think from the English perspective it is causing people to look at other ways to access land and hopefully put them more in charge of their own destiny in the longer term.
The Land Partnerships Service – the matching service for England, has seen an increase in enquiries in recent weeks. These have often been from new entrant entrepreneurs, without access to large amounts of capital or assets, looking to work in a Joint Venture with other landowners and farmers so they can carry out their own business ideas.
Joint Ventures allow access to assets, skills and land which can benefit both parties involved and fits within existing business models. Many of the recent requests have involved finding out more about Share Farming structures. This is still a mis-understood way of working but with the right communications and mindset can be incredibly successful and versatile for everyone involved.
So, with much uncertainty all around us, it looks like some new entrants are taking charge of their own future. Could this really be the time for people to start building on the community spirit we are all seeing and work more in a Joint Venture way to access land for the future and improve food security for ourselves and others? If you think it could be, go to:
England – Land Partnerships Service www.freshstartlandenterprise.org.uk
Northern Ireland – Land Mobility www.yfcu.org/land-mobilty-scheme
Scotland – Scottish Land Matching Service www.slms.scot
Wales – Venture www.businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/business/venture