December update from SLMS.

I recently had an interesting discussion with Austin Finn who manages the SLMS equivalent in the Republic of Ireland called Land Mobility. I had met Austin previously in 2017 in Dublin when Land Mobility had been running for just over two years on a pilot basis and feedback from that visit led to the feasibility study into whether a similar system could run in Scotland. They have now been running for 5 years and have helped broker over 500 agreements across the country. With enquiries running at between 30 and 40 a month they have taken on two further facilitators to develop their regional approach. It was interesting to hear that over 50% of the agreements in place are tenancies – there are tax advantages to the landowner which will certainly impact on decisions.

As I have said previously any joint venture is as much about building a trusting relationship as it is about the business and that not every introduction will lead to an agreement so it was interesting to have that confirmed by Austin – their success rate of introduction leading to an agreement runs at just under 50%.

They have good buy-in from landowner’s, but Austin reported that many young farmers come forward but do not sustain their interest when reality hits and sadly move out of the industry. Having ambition and enthusiasm is fantastic but being realistic about what is possible is something people need to consider very carefully.

Finally, the saying that you never know what is around the corner has unexpectedly applied to me recently. I will be having to take some time out to deal with a health issue in the next few months. We are in the process of getting someone to cover for me so watch this space for details in due course.

Ian Davidson