Farmers could be paid to retire in Government 'exit scheme'

Land agent, Roger Parry and Partners is alerting farmers to Westminster Government plans to pay them to retire in order to bring new blood into the trade.

George Eustice
George Eustice

Ministers hope the exit scheme, which is out for consultation, will create opportunities for a younger generation to own farmland.

The average farmer could receive a lump sum payment of £50,000 as part of a massive overhaul of farm grants incentivising farmers to protect the environment.

Richard Corbett, partner with Roger Parry & Partners, said: “We wouldn’t disagree with the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, when he says that new entrants are the lifeblood of any vibrant industry and farming is no exception. However, he has to appreciate that farming the land is a way of life for farmers and it is not necessarily seen as a job that some would want to retire from as they get older. Perhaps this lump sum could work for those who do wish to leave farming but find it difficult to generate the capital to do so.”

'Retire with dignity'

Nearly four in 10 UK farmers are over the age of 65, with the average age being 59 in the industry.

At the launch of the consultation Mr Eustice said: “We need to address the twin challenges of helping new entrants fulfil their dream and gain access to land, while also helping an older generation retire with dignity. Our Exit Scheme will offer farmers real incentive to confront what can often be a difficult decision and will help them clear bills and settle debts.”

The consultation will be open until August 11. It will look at a lump sum exit scheme.

At the same time it will look at de-linking the Basic Payments Scheme for farmers to the amount of land that is farmed.

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