As the agricultural industry prepares itself to go through a transitional period and a significant amount of change, it seems appropriate to remind clients of the importance of having agricultural agreements in place or up to date, whether that be; Farm Business Tenancies, Contract Farming Agreements or Grazing Licences, (which will allow for appropriate changes to be made if necessary).
The Agricultural Bill which has been presented indicates that as we move away from the European Union, there will be a change to the status quo. This will include subsidy rates and potentially changes to entitlements. Any of these agreements should have the provision to be amended should the agricultural bill have an adverse effect upon the industry including appropriate notices. Nobody wants to be in the position of having a fixed term agreement where they are unable to go back to either the landlord or tenant to renegotiate terms or rent.
In 2005, many individuals found themselves in the unfortunate position where they were unable to activate entitlements, or had to transfer them back when they ceased to rent the land (at no value) much to their surprise. In addition to this, a significant amount of importance was placed on reference years (productive capacity of the farm between 2000 and 2002), something which appears to be mentioned under this new regime. We therefore strongly recommend that you should re-examine your agricultural agreements, paying particular attention to how they could deal with the introduction of the Agricultural Bill. At Brown&Co we have a number of specialists who would be able to advise on this matter should you wish to have further guidance.