Amendment 228 (to Amendment 227)

Part of Agriculture Bill - Committee (6th Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:31 pm on 23rd July 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated 7:31 pm, 23rd July 2020

My Lords, I rise to support Amendment 228, in the names of the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle. The noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, talked about the need for a land-use strategy—I could not agree more—and said that Northern Ireland had a land use framework. Part of that framework is a land mobility scheme, designed to bring into farming new entrants and young people, who hitherto would not have been able to do so because they did not have access to land or were waiting on succession arrangements in their own family structure. This is a voluntary initiative between the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster and the Ulster Farmers Union, and it gets some funding from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

To underpin what the noble Earl was saying about bringing new entrants in, I can tell the Committee that the land mobility scheme is about helping to restructure our industry. It is about how we encourage young people into farming, and how we bring new skills, new thinking and a new generation into agriculture by matching people with opportunities and providing a service to facilitate workable arrangements. This much-needed initiative will match older farmers with no succession arrangements in place with younger farmers, and together they can develop long-term operational and financial plans for the farms in question, on an agreed basis. That is one way of bringing young entrants, and new entrants, into farming. It is a very slow process, but it is well worth examining. I recommend it to the noble Earl and to the Minister. We should see whether there are any possibilities to share experience. I suggest that something like this should be written into the Bill. That is why I support the amendment.