Access to land is a primary, if not the single most critical, barrier to new entrants. Various reasons have been expressed why this is the case, such as:
1. There is limited high quality land available for purchase or secure rental and even poor quality land in more remote areas can be difficult to access;
2. The available land is too expensive for new entrants who do not have substantial financial resources behind them;
3. CAP direct payments increase the price of land and dis-incentivise land transfer; and
4. Legislative reform has led to uncertainties about securing long-term tenure.
It was against this backdrop that the Scottish Government first announced plans in 2015 to maximise the amount of publicly owned land to help the farmers of the future. Since 2016, the FONE concept and selection process has now overseen the release of:
- Five thousand and twenty two hectares (5,022 ha) of publicly owned land
- A total of 71 separate land opportunities
- The selection of 46 * New Entrants to farming
*some new entrant tenants have acquired more than one agreement
These figures exclude the part-time starter units released on Scotland’s National Forest Estate that formed the basis for FONE but including these:
A total of five thousand seven hundred and thirty six hectares (5,736 ha) of publicly owned land has been released; creating 80 land opportunities and offering 55 New Entrants a pathway into Scottish agriculture.