6.1 Overall, there was little change to the amount of land owned by owner occupier farmers since 2000. In terms of leased land, few respondents reported that they owned land that had previously been rented-in or rented-out. However, the survey suggests that there is the potential for this group to rent-out land in the future. One in ten respondents said they would be likely to rent out land in the future, with the preferred tenure arrangements being seasonal lets and informal agreements with neighbours.
6.2 Owner occupiers' opinions were split over one of the key measures being considered by the review group, the introduction of an Absolute Right to Buy for Secure 1991 tenancies. Just over half supported ARtB for either all or some tenants (56%) while just under a half opposed it (44%).
6.3 Similarly, there was no clear consensus over some of the factors required for a strong rented farm sector. When asked if the number of tenancies should be increased in the future, 33% agreed and 29% disagreed. Meanwhile, 31% agreed and 34% disagreed that measures should be put in place to increase the area of let land in Scotland.
6.4 Financial incentives, less bureaucracy and more rights for landowners were factors that were more likely to make respondents rent-out agricultural land in the future, chosen by 43%, 42% and 42% respectively. Additionally, 34% of respondents said that being certain ARtB would not be introduced would make them more likely to rent-out land.
6.5 In comparison to agricultural landlords (see Renting-Out Agricultural Land In Scotland Survey 2014), owner occupiers were more likely to have not made any changes to the size of their land since 2000 and less likely to have increased the size of their land. Seventy seven per cent of owner occupier said their land had not changed in size since 2000, compared to 69% of agricultural landlords, while 6% of owner occupier farmers said that their land was larger than in 2000, compared to 15% of agricultural landlords. The median average size of agricultural land owned by owner occupiers was 142 hectares, compared to 715 hectares owned by agricultural landlords.
6.6 Owner occupiers were also more likely than agricultural landlords to say that all or certain tenant farmers should be offered the ARtB (56% compared to 30% of agricultural landlords) and that they would be likely to use secure tenancies to rent-out land in the future (5% compared to 2%). Eighty-one per cent of agricultural landlords and 66% of owner occupiers agreed that 'Uncertainty around the future of agricultural holdings legislation is detrimental to farming.'
6.7 Compared to tenant farmers (see Survey of Agricultural Tenant Farmers 2014), owner occupiers were more likely to have not made changes to the size of their land since 2000 (77% compared to 64%). Tenant farmers were more likely than owner occupier farm owners to have increased the size of their land since 2000 (23% compared to 6%), while owner occupiers were more likely to have decreased the size of their land during this time (17% compared to 12% of tenant farmers). The median average size of owner occupier's agricultural land was 142 hectares, compared to 390 hectares farmed by tenant farmers.
6.8 Tenant farmers were more likely to be younger than owner occupiers. Twenty six per cent of tenant farmers were aged below 50, compared to 17% of owner occupiers. In terms of retirement plans, similar proportions of owner occupiers and tenant farmers said that they did not expect to retire until they were over 70 (23% and 22% respectively), while 18% of owner occupiers said that they never expected to retire, compared to 12% of tenant farmers. Fifty four per cent of owner occupiers had a successor in mind for their business compared to 71% of tenant farmers.
Email: Liz Hawkins
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback