THE tented sector of agriculture must be a focus in the government’s new policies was the message delivered by the National Farmers’ Union.

At the NFU Tenant’s Conference, which took place in Cambridgeshire last week, audiences heard that whilst tenant farming already contributes significantly to agricultural output in this country, more could be done to make the industry to thrive and become more sustainable if the right policies were put in place.

NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts described tenant farmers as a “vital part of the sector”, which covered around 30 per cent of farmed land in England and Wales and offered a important route into farming for those outside of the industry.

Speaking at the conference Mr Roberts said: “I hope today’s discussions on issues such as tenancy reform will provide a catalyst for the action that the sector needs.

“It’s essential that any policy framework for agricultural tenancies is fit for the future and that post-Brexit, tenant farmers are able to access any new agricultural and land management schemes as we move away from the Common Agricultural Policy once the UK leaves the EU.

“Such schemes must help to improve competitiveness and sustainability within the sector and allow tenant farmers to invest in their businesses.”

Mr Roberts also called on the next government to support county council farm estates – which he acknowledged some of which had been sold due to a lack of investment.

“These farms serve an important role in allowing that first foot on the ladder for new entrants,” he said.

“Above all, we must encourage the next generation of farmers who have the skills and talent needed to thrive in the future, so we are able to continue to provide the nation with a trusted supply of safe, traceable and affordable food while caring for the iconic British countryside.”