More than two-thirds of all UK farming is still owned by a family farm and nearly a third of the UK’s farms have more than one owner, according to a new study.
The report, published today by the Land and Water Institute (LWE), found that the farming industry has become more complex and the market has become increasingly dominated by small farms.
However, there is still a growing number of small farms that have been able to grow their business in a competitive and sustainable way.
LWE’s director of land and environment policy, Stephen Lyle, said the growing number “has been a catalyst for change in our thinking about land and farming”.
“Farmers are becoming more important in the land and agri-businesses landscape.
This is a good thing, but it is a change that needs to happen faster,” he said.
“We need to rethink the way we think about and manage land and how we use it.”
LWE said there is a clear need for change to help small farms compete with larger commercial farms.
“This is a key area where we can have a significant impact on farming in England and Wales,” said Mr Lyle.
“There is a lack of transparency and public ownership of land in some parts of the country, so there is less information available to the public about the impact of our land policy on farming.”
He said the Government should also make sure there are better ways to manage and protect public land.
“The government needs to provide a clear and coherent policy that promotes the wellbeing of farmers and their land, so that they can compete with commercial farms, and to support local communities,” he added.
LEW said there was also a need for a more robust approach to land-use planning in England.
“Policy-makers need to understand that the land-scape is complex and change needs to be designed to work with it,” said Lyle who added that the research showed there were some signs of change.
“Farmlands are a significant part of rural England, and in many areas farmers are able to control what happens on their land and their access to it.”
This needs to change.
We need to make sure that the way the government manages land and the way farmers use land is designed so that it is sustainable, but also to encourage people to farm their land in a sustainable way.
“Farmers’ concerns The LWE study also found that a growing proportion of small farming was owned by women, and that the majority of the owners were aged between 35 and 50.
The research found that half of small farmers had a partner in the farming business, compared with just one in three large farmers.
Mr Lile said that it was also common for small farmers to have more land available, and “a larger proportion of the farmers have less land than large farmers”.
“But this is not a new phenomenon, we’ve been seeing it for a while. “
It’s been a bit of a surprise to us that the large farms have become more and more dominant,” he explained.
LWN contacted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for comment. “
Small farmers, especially those that are female, have an opportunity to become more independent, and take control of their own land and they’re more likely to look at alternative sources of income and to consider investing in their own businesses.”
LWN contacted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for comment.
It is not clear whether the department is planning to introduce new measures to address the growing problem of large farm owners.
LWN also contacted the National Farmers’ Union, which said it was “deeply concerned” about the growing trend.
“As we’ve heard more and less from the Department of Agriculture over the past six years, there’s a growing sense that there’s something wrong with the way that the country’s agricultural sector is run,” said NFU’s director, Tim White.
They’re a threat to rural jobs, which in turn are a threat for local communities and businesses.” “
These trends are a serious problem for small farms and their communities.
They’re a threat to rural jobs, which in turn are a threat for local communities and businesses.”
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