In our last blog piece, we answered different questions posed in a workshop-based session at the ORFC this year. We’d like to continue the conversation by answering more specific questions that came up at the workshop under the theme of succession and meeting the diverse needs of new entrants and ageing farmers.
Q) With an ageing population of farmers and an upsurge of new entrant farmers looking for land – surely, we should be setting up a match-making service between the two parties. There’s a need on both sides.
The Land Partnerships Handbook is all about this. At the core of the approach is advice to help establish and encourage landowners and land entrepreneurs or prospective entrants/tenants to collaborate and use their resources to create new land-based enterprises. This landowner/land entrepreneur is a two-way relationship and not only gives landowners the opportunity to diversify their business with new ideas and different ways of working but also provides land entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their background and skills without incurring the start-up costs of buying land. These building relationships can also open new paths for succession of the farm or market garden in the future.
All those interested in beginning a business on the land as well as current landowners can access the Land Partnerships Handbook online. Included is a 5-step framework which provides an overview of the processes involved, addressing the technical, legal, relationship-building components of a successful land partnership business.
If you are actively looking for opportunities, head to the Fresh Start website where you’ll find up-to-date advertisement from both landowners and those seeking land – Let the match making begin!! Do also talk to us at the BD Land Trust as we sometimes have opportunities.
There are farmers seeking suitable candidates for succession – interested people need to be willing to explore jobs and opportunities knowing there is no certainty. The Biodynamic Association has a vacancies page with many opportunities, some of these include succession possibilities. If you have the skills to take on a responsible position with a view to longer term or just need to build experience and expertise do have a look and give places a go. Capable farmers and growers are needed.
To round up, the ORFC was a real injection of hope, inspiration and optimism. It’s a place where we feel a sense of community and coming together of all those who seek to be closer to the land and agroecological practice, and who wish to radically change the UK farming sector for the better. One of the key takeaways for us is that the work around access to land issues remains a real long-term challenge and is integral to the future of the UK farming system. It was confirmed this year like no other that we are at a critical juncture in the agroecological movement where the change needed will require hard conversations, persistence, tenacity, diverse perspectives, partnership building and innovative approaches – our work in securing land for community-owned working farms continues! And we’d love to hear about your challenges and find ways to support.