PUTTING an effective succession plan in place is one of the biggest challenges facing every farm family. The Land Mobility initiative, launched in September 2017 by the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) with funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), has a crucial role to play in the farming industry in Northern Ireland.
The objective is to match up older farmers facing the challenge of succession with younger farmers wanting to get into the industry. The service outlines available options and help to develop tailored agreements to suit the specific farming situation, including partnerships, shared farming, contract rearing, and long-term leasing. These collaborative arrangements will be the key to delivering growth within our farming sectors and safeguarding the future of agriculture in Northern Ireland.
Land Mobility Programme Manager John McCallister has been working hard to promote the initiative, gather details for the programme’s database, and match both older and younger farmers to viable opportunities. The programme’s database now exceeds 240 names with 27 long-term farm business agreements in place.
This demonstrates the clear desire of members to bring innovation to the farming industry across Northern Ireland to develop more productive methods of land use.
Looking ahead, John is keen to build on the success of the initiative and will be hosting a series of ‘drop-in clinics’, in partnership with Danske Bank, in UFU and National Farmers’ Union Mutual Insurance Society offices across Northern Ireland to give free advice and information on the options available, with no appointment needed. There will be over 20 drop-in clinics taking place over the next several months.
Rodney Brown, Head of Agribusiness at Danske Bank, said: “We are very pleased to continue support of the Land Mobility initiative through the YFCU. This is an important initiative and one that can make a difference to farms across Northern Ireland where there isn’t a clear succession plan.
“Land Mobility should, and will, assist in ensuring the long-term sustainability of agriculture within Northern Ireland. It will provide an opportunity for capable young farmers to enter agriculture with an increased management responsibility, providing a platform for them to grow and thrive whilst growing their equity stake in the industry. It also provides an excellent opportunity for those who may wish to take a less active role in the farm but are keen to maintain an interest in the business they have grown over decades.”