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Call to make life easier for newcomers to farming.

MORE needs to be done to give would-be farmers a helping hand into the industry, the Tenant Farmers Association has said.

Officials from the TFA have met the Prince of Wales to enlist his support in identifying pathways to getting on the farming ladder.

The seminar with Prince Charles is a follow-up to an event held by the Fresh Start Initiative in 2011 which identified the increasing difficulty faced by new entrants to the agricultural industry in progressing their careers.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said: Traditionally, agricultural tenancies have been an important route for entry into the agricultural industry and a flexible vehicle to encourage business development.

"Increasingly however we are seeing opportunities to enter and develop through the landlord tenant system diminish.

"This is due to a mixture of interrelated reasons including the reduction in County Council Smallholdings, the taxation framework within which private land owners make decisions, the availability of retirement options for existing tenant farmers and fierce competition for land.

"Whilst there are no quick wins or easy solutions, large estates, particularly those which are either publicly owned or with a public interest, need to focus more on what they can do to assist entry into and progression through the agricultural industry."

The TFA is calling on the Welsh Government to intervene to make it easier for would-be farmers, citing the following points: ? Protect County Council Smallholdings as essential entry points to the agricultural industry administered within a proper asset management framework.

. ? Consider a CAP-funded voluntary retirement scheme for farmers without the economic wherewithal to leave the industry. ? Provide tax savings for land owners prepared to offer retirement dwellings to tenant farmers.

. ? Bring in more flexible rules for the development of affordable housing on exception sites.

. ? Prevent the easy removal of agricultural restrictions on dwellings.

. ? Encourage landlords to let for longer terms through carefully targeted tax savings. ? Ensure that only truly active farmers can access support through the CAP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Sep 20, 2012
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