The new Act will encourage more letting of agricultural land by giving landlords and tenants much greater freedom to negotiate the terms of their own tenancy agreements.
From today, new agricultural tenancy agreements in England and Wales will be farm business tenancies. The Agricultural Tenancies Act will not, however, apply to existing tenancies covered by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, nor to any new ones created under the statutory succession provisions of that earlier legislation.
MAFF has issued a free guide to the new legislation which is available from its regional service centres.
'The new Act greatly simplifies the legal framework for agricultural landlords and tenants. They will at the same time be given far greater freedom to decide for themselves the terms and conditions of their agreements, subject to some essential safeguards which are beneficial to both landlords and tenants.
'The radical reforms which are being introduced by the new Act are strongly supported by almost everyone in the industry. The extension of 100% relief from Inheritance Tax to agricultural land covered by tenancies beginning on or after today is a further incentive for landowners to let more of their land.
'Almost a year ago a survey carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed that there is considerable interest in this opportunity to increase the amount of land in the tenanted sector.
'There is every reason to believe that this interest will be followed up with actual farm business tenancies. This offers very real prospects for new blood to enter the industry once again.'