Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

When the next generation shares the effort

Share farming deserves serious consideration when it comes to weighing up options. Keep it simple and both parties have gains to make.

Already well-established in America, Australia and New Zealand, share farming has a lot to offer. The next generation or new entrant gets a foot on the farming ladder, without being overburdened by cost, and the landowner benefits through a share of the profits. The latter also doesn’t need to withdraw completely from a job that’s a way of life.

Share farming differs from traditional contract farming in that both parties, usually described as owner and operator, have entirely independent businesses and share the risk and the profits on a pre-agreed percentage. The parties are equals in a business relationship that exists for both their benefit.

More specifically the owner provides a proportion of his farmland and buildings for the operator to work. The operator provides the machinery and the labour and both agree to pay a share of the costs. In the case of livestock, owner and operator normally share ownership. The main thing is that the agreement can be designed to suit the individuals involved and farm circumstances.

Twice this year two bodies have called for a wider uptake of share farming. In April, Scottish landowners, through their representative organisation, called for a cross-industry task force to look at its development and in July the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) launched an initiative to encourage share farming. According to them if just a quarter of the country’s farmers aged over 65 entered in to a share farming agreement it would allow more than 3,000 entrants to start working the land.

Share farming certainly seems to deliver the dynamism, flexibility and business partnership approach that the agricultural system needs if it is to encourage new entrants into the industry. It should certainly be considered alongside other current tenancy vehicles and the owner should gain from significant tax advantages, for instance Agricultural Property Relief. The advice is to keep the agreement as simple as possible with both parties meeting on regular occasions around the kitchen table.

It certainly deserves to be more popular than it currently is and is a very real option for those with land on their hands.

If it’s an option that appeals to you, Carter Jonas has the expertise to help make it happen.

Oliver Bateman

Oliver Bateman

Partner

Oliver is a born and bred Kendalian. His main role is in Estate Management for both corporate and private clients in Cumbria, North Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales. He is also involved in agric...

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