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Alerting older farmers to government plans to incentivise them to retire

3rd June 2021

Roger Parry & Partners are alerting farmers to Westminster Government plans to pay them to retire in order to bring new blood into the trade.

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

The average farmer could receive a lump sum payment of £50,000 (capped at £100,000 for farmers with most land) 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.”

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 the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, explained: “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 for 12 weeks, until 11 August 2021 and focuses on two key areas:

  • Lump sum exit scheme – Building on evidence that some farmers would like to retire or leave the industry but have found it difficult to do so for financial reasons, the Government proposes to offer them a lump sum payment to help them do this in a planned and managed way. The consultation seeks views on who should be eligible for these lump sum payments and how the payments should be calculated.
  • Delinked payments – Direct Payments currently made through the Basic Payments Scheme offer poor value for money and are based on how much land a farmer has, which inflates rent and can stand in the way of new entrants. The Government plans to phase Direct Payments out over a gradual seven year transition period, to move to a fairer system. The consultation includes plans to separate the payment from the amount of land farmed, from 2024. This will simplify the process for farmers, allow them to focus on running their business and encourage them to take up the government’s new environmental land management schemes, which will reward sustainable food production and environmental improvements. The consultation seeks views on how the ‘delinked’ payments will be calculated.

For more details on the consultation click here: