DEFRA has launched a consultation with a view to reforming agricultural tenancy law.

Keen to remove barriers to productivity improvements, it is calling for evidence on whether current restrictions on agricultural mortgages are a barrier to landowners wishing to let land.

It is also investigating if better protection is needed against repossession for farm business borrowers unable to meet finance repayments under secured loans.

The NFU’s tenants forum chairman, Chris Cardell, said reform was certainly needed. “This consultation offers a valuable opportunity to influence the future of the tenanted sector and the NFU will be encouraging its members to respond to the consultation, as well as helping to shape the NFU’s views.

“Throughout our contributions to the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, we have made it clear that future policy needs to allow both landlords and tenants to make investments in their holdings, which can help drive greater productivity for the tenanted sector. It is encouraging to see that this is open for discussion within the consultations.

“The tenanted sector plays a crucial role for agricultural businesses and, importantly, creates many opportunities for the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs. It is vital that reforms supporting this are implemented.”

The NFU will be seeking the views of its members on the proposed reforms by holding meetings across the country during the consultation period, as well as taking the view of its national tenants forum.

Views can also be submitted via the ‘agricultural tenancy consultation’ link on the DEFRA website up until midnight on July 2.