2014 Government Review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation
Survey to map Scotland’s tenant farming sector 

   The Scottish Government has released the following statement:


 Lay of the Land

 Survey to map Scotland’s tenant farming sector

Surveys are being sent to every tenant farmer in Scotland as part of a major piece of research that will influence the future of Scottish farming.

Responses to the questionnaire will inform work of the Ministerial-led Agricultural Holdings Legislation review which is considering, among other issues, absolute right to buy for traditional secure 1991 agricultural tenancies. Corresponding surveys will be sent to landlords shortly.

It comes as the Scottish Government publishes a new map showing the distribution of tenant farms across Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

  “This research is vital to the review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation that I am leading, as responses will influence our findings and the future of Scottish farming.

  “The map published today shows the distribution of tenant farms across Scotland, but we need to build up a much more detailed picture of the issues facing the sector and those working in it. The surveys being carried out on our behalf have been developed in collaboration with the Tenant Farming Forum and ask important questions about people’s experiences of farming and views on the future of the tenanted agriculture sector.

  “To get the best from our land and the people farming it, we need a vibrant tenant farming sector and so I urge everyone who is asked to take part in these surveys to take full advantage of this unique opportunity to make their voice heard. All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.”


Surveys asking about experiences of farming and views on the future of tenant farming of Scotland are being sent to all farm business that rent-in land on leases for more than one year. Responses can be submitted online or on paper and are requested by February 7, 2014 with a final closing date of March 10, 2014. Corresponding surveys will be sent to landlords shortly.

  A further telephone survey to better understand landlord and tenant farmer relationships will be carried out with a sample of tenant farmers and landlords in the coming months.

  All responses to these surveys will be treated in the strictest confidence.

  The surveys have been carefully developed in collaboration with Tenant Farming Forum members including National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland, Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association (SAAVA).

  A report incorporating all the strands of the research will be published on the Scottish Government website later this year.

  The map published today shows the percentage of tenanted agricultural land by parish, excluding tenanted croft land, and is available to download.


 STFA’s view:

 STFA is urging all tenants to respond to the government tenancy survey to be launched this week.  STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said “As we embark upon the most important review of tenancies in a generation, it is essential that Government have a complete picture of the Scottish tenanted sector.

 Scottish farm tenancy statistics have traditionally been woefully inadequate and we are pleased that the government is now going to address this major issue and fill the vacuum.  The survey results will be treated in the strictest confidence and all tenants should take the time to complete the survey as soon as it arrives and return to government without delay.

 STFA cannot overemphasise the importance of this opportunity to address the steadily declining and blighted sector.  Family farms are the backbone of rural communities but reform is now essential to reinvigorate the Scottish rural economy in which tenants play such an integral role.  The ball is now in our court to respond to this survey and play our part in shaping a brighter and better future for ourselves and the next generation entering Scottish agriculture.