As we approach the end of another year who would have thought that Covid19 would still be having such an impact on our lives. The uncertainty caused for individuals and businesses alike is extreme and the impact that has on mental health cannot be underestimated.
Farming and crofting are not immune from that uncertainty even although the daily routine of tending to crops and animals goes on. At times like this it can be really difficult to think about the future, but it is something we should all try and do because even in more “normal” times no one knows what lies around the corner. Having said that it has been encouraging in the last three months that Scottish Land Matching Service (SLMS) has been contacted by more people just at the early stage of planning for the future and seeking some independent advice. It is good to talk.
SLMS was set up to try and address the shortage of opportunities for new entrants and those young people trying to develop their business by matching them up with someone at the other end of their farming / crofting career who was looking to take a step back from day to day. That lack of opportunities was largely down to two factors:
- difficulty in accessing land
- difficulty in accessing capital
With the price of land on a seemingly steep rise then (a) becomes even more difficult for any aspiring new entrant / developing business and makes (b) almost impossible as the figures against land at extreme values simply don’t add up.
A major factor in the rise in land price must be down to what could be termed as “carbon speculation” as non-land-based businesses seek to offset their own carbon footprint by purchasing land largely for planting trees. We are keen to speak to businesses who are purchasing land for this purpose as the likelihood of 100% planting coverage is very unlikely and there must be options to create opportunities for new entrants on the unplanted land within that mix.