LANDLORDS and agents are being accused of taking an “unrealistic stance” on rent reviews given the current difficulties many farmers are facing.
The criticism comes from the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), which spoke out after what it said had been “one of the most difficult years in modern farming history”. TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “All sectors of agriculture have been hit both by spring droughts and an excess of rain and floods in the summer and autumn.
“The effects of the poor weather in 2012 will continue to have an impact well into this year and possibly beyond. There has been poor crop establishment across the country and feed and fodder continues to be a scarce and expensive resource.”
He said that despite these factors, some landlords’ agents were living in “cloud cuckoo land” with regard to how much rent was realistic.
“Output prices for some commodities, notably arable crops, are high but this reflects a shortage of both quantity and quality of available supplies now and expected supplies following next harvest,” said Mr Dunn.
“Input prices too are very high which, taken together with the quality and quantity issues, have caused farm margins to be squeezed to negligible or non-existent levels. Things are not much better on the livestock side with recent increases in milk prices paid to producers barely keeping up with costs of production if at all, lamb prices in the doldrums and returns in the beef, white meat and egg sectors continuing to be under pressure.”
He said it was likely some rents would be settled by arbitration.