SW Land Match is a pilot project for 2023 designed to match land-seeking agroecological farmers and growers with landowners with spare or available land. The project – which was initially developed for participants on Defra’s New Entrant Support Scheme in the south west – has now been opened up to landowners and people looking for land to start or scale-up farming businesses across the region.

Landowners or land managers with spare land of any size in south west England can register online with the scheme, and their information will be held until potential matches with suitable land seekers can be found. With SW Land Match acting as facilitator, it is hoped that appropriate and proceedable introductions can be made, thereby increasing the potential for mutually beneficial land partnerships to be developed and new farming businesses to be started.

Finding land is one of the biggest barriers for new entrants into farming along with accessing finance, security of tenure and affordability. The Landworkers’ Alliance New Entrant Survey of 2020 indicated very significant barriers to setting up and scaling up (small farming businesses) with 61% struggling with accessing land, 46% struggling with accessing finance and 54% experiencing access to relevant training as a barrier. These themes are also reflected in the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs 2021 Future Land Use Survey which reported that over 70% of respondents thought it would be difficult or impossible for new entrants to enter the farming industry. However, although there are significant barriers to starting out in farming, there are also many landowners with underutilized land who are keen to support the next generation of growers and farmers with renting out space, or sharing knowledge and and we would urge them to get in touch.’

SW Land Match, which is a not-for-profit pilot project is currently being trialled until December 2023 whilst looking for funding to help continue the scheme. The scheme is open for organizations, local authorities and charities to register as well as private landowners.

For further information, please visit: www.swlandmatch.org