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Landowners can reap benefits of share farming

An expert in agricultural law is reporting a possible alternative to the normal tenancies/ partnerships which allows landowners to reduce their day-to-day responsibilities while encouraging more people into farming.

Andrew Holden, head of the Rural team at Napthens solicitors, says there are benefits to be gained through share farming.

An agreement drawn up between a landowner and a working farmer – the ‘share farmer’ – allows both parties to combine assets and jointly farm land.

It is not a traditional partnership as there is no joint bank account, nor is it a landlord and tenant arrangement, and contracts can be written to suit the needs and circumstances of both parties.

A typical arrangement may involve the landowner providing fixed assets, such as land, buildings and equipment, and the share farmer contributing manual labour, mobile machinery and expertise.

Andrew Holden said: “Share farming is an ideal way to respond to the challenges faced by those working within the agricultural industry. It allows a farmer approaching retirement to become less involved on a day-to-day basis, while still keeping a hand in the business.

“The share farmer is given the chance to operate within the industry and put their expertise to use, without their lack of ownership of fixed assets getting in the way.

“There are certain rules that the landowner must comply with, such as being able to show that he or she still has some involvement in the management of the business. Also, each party must take responsibility for their own finances, tax and VAT returns, as well as the production of their own accounts.

“Anyone interested in share farming should contact their legal advisor for more information.”