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High level discussions at Highgrove

CRPR Director Dr Matt Lobley was invited by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to speak at a seminar at Highgrove on 17 September.   The seminar on ‘the farming ladder’ explored ways of helping new farming businesses to start via various entry routes and considered opportunities for farms/businesses to move up the farming ladder.

Following the recent publication of his book on intergenerational succession in family farming, Matt explained that the repeated transfer of farms down generations of the same families in a locality resulted in farming families being deeply, socially embedded in their communities.  He also reminded the audience of the dangers of agriculture becoming a ‘closed shop’ and called for landlords and landowners to adopt a more flexible approach to help facilitate the progression of genuinely new entrants to agriculture.  He went on to say that “ there is a highly committed ‘next generation’ of potential farmers willing to work just as hard as the incumbent generation and willing to embrace new ways of working.  However, many can’t access land, can’t afford the rents required or take land on an annual license and don’t know from year to year how much land they will have.”

Other delegates at this closed seminar included representatives of the banking sector, large scale landowners and a range of sector and other industry bodies.