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TFA e-News 15 March 2019

This Issue of TFA e-News is Kindly Sponsored by Farmers Guardian.

Scroll down for a special Farmers Guardian Subscription offer for readers of TFA e-News.

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Brexit Uncertainty Continues

This week's political news has been filled with the Parliamentary gymnastics over how to deliver the decision of the June 2016 EU Referendum. Despite all the debates, votes and motions nothing has changed in law. The default position remains that the UK will leave the European Union at 11 PM on Friday 29 March. However, it is expected that the UK Government will now request an extension to this time which must be approved by all 27 other Member States of the European Union.

Assuming that such a request is approved and the terms of the approval are acceptable to the UK, the next step will be for the Government to table a Statutory Instrument amending the date of our exit day in accordance with the extension allowed by the EU. That Statutory Instrument will need an affirmative vote of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It may yet be some days before we get further clarity on the way forward so watch this space for updates relevant to our members.

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Important Questions Asked of Government on County Council Smallholdings

Shadow Agriculture Minister, David Drew MP, has tabled a set of Written Parliamentary Questions focusing on central Government policy on county council's smallholding estates. It will be particularly interesting to read the Government's responses to these questions as they will no doubt be in the name of the recently appointed agriculture minister, Robert Goodwill MP. The previous Minister, George Eustice MP, had been a great champion of county council smallholding estates within DEFRA and it is hoped that his legacy will be carried forward by the new Minister. Watch this space. To read the questions tabled by David Drew, click here.

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TFA National Chairman, James Gray

The 2019 TFA AGM Highlights

Speaking at this week's Tenant Farmers Association AGM in London, James Gray, TFA National Chairman, warned we must not waste the opportunity afforded by Brexit to put in better policies for food, farming and the countryside which support resilient, profitable businesses working to high standards of food quality, environmental management and animal welfare. He said, “As we move away from membership of the European Union, it is vital that we do so in a way which seeks to build a positive future for food, farming and the countryside without unnecessarily demonising the policies of the past."

James went on to acknowledge that the tenanted sector of agriculture had been adversely affected by short-term thinking from policy makers, landowners and those who seek to advise them. The average length of term on new farm tenancies are now consistently under 4.5 years. This is far short of the 10 plus years the TFA wants to see for progression, investment and sustainable land use. The TFA continues to lobby Government on matters such as restricting 100% relief from Inheritance Tax which can help influence terms. To read more about the TFA FBT10+ campaign, click here. To read the full AGM speech by James Gray click here.

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Rural Payment Wales Online Maintenance

We would like to inform you that Rural Payment Wales Online is planning essential maintenance to its website on:

▪ Tuesday 26 March 2019 between 16:00 – 20:00
▪ Friday 29 March 2019 starting 11:00 till the afternoon of Monday 1 April 2019
▪ Wednesday 17 April 2019 starting 17:00 till the morning of Tuesday 23 April 2019
▪ Thursday 16 May 2019 - Wednesday 22 May 2019
Tuesday 26 March 2019 between 16:00 – 20:00
Friday 29 March 2019 starting 11:00 till the afternoon of Monday 1 April 2019
Wednesday 17 April 2019 starting 17:00 till the morning of Tuesday 23 April 2019
Thursday 16 May 2019 - Wednesday 22 May 2019

Please note that at these times the Rural Payment Wales Online website will not be available. The above dates are also subject to change.

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Is DEFRA Ready for Brexit?

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is inviting the public to submit questions to be put to DEFRA ministers around its Brexit preparations. If you have questions you want to submit, send them to @CommonsEFRA on Twitter and use the hashtag #askDEFRAministers or click here to submit them online. The deadline for submissions is Wed 20 March. The best submissions will be put to ministers on the 27 March. For more details click here.

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2019 Basic Payment Scheme Applications Open

The 2019 BPS Scheme has now opened for applications. Those claiming will be required to comply with the BPS requirements for the entire year. That means cross compliance 2019 will run until 31 December 2019, with a number of the Greening requirements running to that date also.

There are no substantial changes to the BPS, Greening or Cross Compliance rules for BPS 2019 but, as always, we urge members to familiarise themselves with the scheme rules. TFA members can click here to read summarised key points published in Briefing Note A06/19. Alternatively, you can find this year’s guidance documents by clicking here. If you have any queries, would like any further advice on BPS 2019 or if you are affected by delayed payments, please contact Lynette Steel at Head Office on 0118 9306130.

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RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission – Promoting Farming and Health

The RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission is approaching the final stages of its work and is looking at a number of themes including "farming and health". The Commission would be interested in talking to farmers who are prioritising health within their businesses. This could range from what is being produced and how it is marketed, sustainable use of inputs and the promotion of mental health either within staff or in the local community.

In order to inform future policy, the Commission is keen to learn about these activities, what has worked and what barriers exist to better practice in this area. By drawing on the experience of people who are already working in this area, the aim is to understand the practical steps that would help on the ground to move the agenda forward. Any TFA members who feel that they can usefully add to this work should contact either Tom MacMillan or Rosalind Sharpe as soon as possible.

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Caroline Foot, TFA Adviser

TFA Guidance Tips

Caroline Foot, TFA Adviser, highlights topical TFA Guidance Notes available FREE to TFA members.

With Lady Day fast approaching, now seems a good time to remind members of the procedures and statutory provisions for rent reviews, for both Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies and Farm Business Tenancies (FBT). 25 March is a traditional date on which tenancies commence and therefore is a common time of year for rent reviews but the same applies whenever the rent review may occur. Some landlords or their agents are pressing to proceed with reviews, despite the continuing uncertainty that Brexit is creating.

Please do contact Head Office to speak to an adviser if you have any questions or concerns by calling 0118 930 6130, but also please refer to the TFA’s guidance notes on the matter for further information. ‘Practical Issues on Rent Reviews’ provides a summary of the rent review process as well as the statutory ‘formula’ for both AHA and FBTs, there are also further guidance notes going into more detail on certain aspects of the AHA formula and also the Arbitration process. Please go to the members’ area of the TFA website to see all guidance notes, or to read ‘Practical Issues on Rent Reviews’ please click here.


TFA Member Benefits

Members Subscription Offer

Farmers Guardian brings you everything you need to know from the world of agriculture. The latest news, politics, innovation, animal health, farming advice, classifieds + more….

A subscription gives you the information you need to maintain a profitable business.

Farmers Guardian are offering *4 weeks’ FREE digital access to TFA members when signing up to become a VIP Digital Member via Direct Debit.

VIP Digital Includes…

▪ Unlimited article access to Farmers Guardian website, 7 days a week
▪ Farming email newsletters, tailored to your farm business
▪ Downloadable Intelligence Guides
Unlimited article access to Farmers Guardian website, 7 days a week
Farming email newsletters, tailored to your farm business
Downloadable Intelligence Guides

To subscribe and claim the discount, simply call 0330 333 0056 and quote EX902 or click here.

*TFA Members can pay £0.00 for the first 4 weeks, then £23.70
per quarter thereafter. This offer expires 31 March 2020.

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Member Offers

bira Bank - TFA Member Rates

Current interest rates for loans can be found by clicking here for details.


The John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook

The John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook is the most widely used and trusted agricultural costing book in the UK. The 49th Edition is now available to buy for budgeting for 2019. It is continuously improving, with new additions making it more comprehensive than ever before. The Pocketbook provides you with crucial information to:

• complete your annual budgets reliably
• learn about renewable energy
• build a long term business strategy
• spot opportunities to raise efficiency
• measure the benefits of diversification
• all other farm business costings.

For more information on the John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook, visit where you can download the full Contents page and a few sample pages completely free before purchase.

The TFA has negotiated a 15% discount on the Pocketbook, telephone 01664 564 508 and state you are a TFA member to receive the offer.


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And Finally

Get Involved! TFA Rent Benchmarking

The TFA Rent Databank provides a valuable benchmarking tool allowing members to make rent comparisons. Our Rent Databank is only as good as the information provided by our TFA members.

If you have recently agreed a rent on any land that you farm, whether it be an increase, decrease or a standstill, please remember to submit the details to the TFA Rent Databank by clicking here, or by phoning the office on 0118 930 6130.

Remember, it's completely confidential. Only summary information will be presented online, so your farm cannot be individually identified. Further information is only shared with your permission.


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