NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Grazing Agreement  (Read 5240 times)

JackandJill

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Aberareon, Ceredigion
Grazing Agreement
« on: December 03, 2016, 05:53:31 pm »
Hi,

local farmer wants to use some of my land which we have not yet got to using.

I understand I need to have a grazing agreement, does anyone have an example I could use as a starter?

thanks
Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 11:28:00 pm »
Best to get it done legally and with no loopholes.  Where we are the big local mart does legal stuff like that. There's so much which can go wrong with an agreement which hasn't gone through the proper channels.  All may be hunky dory initially, but even if the farmer is your best friend, still get it done properly.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 01:47:34 am »
Anything legal will cost money so make sure the farmer pays.I myself use a simple grazing licence off the internet with licensor  and licensee and get some one to witness it.It"s never for more than 6 months at a time.Never had a problem.Did make the mistake of renting a field out to travellers once..not realizing they  were travellers and not stipulating no of ponies.I was very niave!!!
What does the farmer want your land for this time of year?
.

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 08:49:26 am »
I rent land over the winter and have never had to sign an agreement...
Most farmers will only graze the grass then move to other fields,  if given an end date they are happy to move by then as will want to keep everyone happy so they can use it again another year.
i presume its sheep grazing?
I wouldn't want cows on my land over winter unless very few kn large acreage as they would poach the ground badly

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2016, 09:22:14 am »
I rent land over the winter and have never had to sign an agreement...
Most farmers will only graze the grass then move to other fields,  if given an end date they are happy to move by then as will want to keep everyone happy so they can use it again another year.
i presume its sheep grazing?
I wouldn't want cows on my land over winter unless very few kn large acreage as they would poach the ground badly

 I agree entirely.
 A farmer wants the grass on the field in order to feed his animals. Once the grass is gone he's automatically going to move his animals on.
 A traveller, on the other hand (and sadly many people with a horse and nowhere to keep it) wants the field not only for the grass on it, but also as an outside stable as they have nowhere else for the animal to go.
 So if the person wanting to rent your field is a genuine farmer, then I wouldn't bother about a written agreement either.
 After all - even with a formally drawn up and witnessed grazing agreement - if someone doesn't remove their stock at the end of the agreed time then what are you going to do about it? It's not a criminal offence so you would have to take a civil action against them at your cost.
 Far more important in my book to establish the credibility of your prospective tenant and discuss how long the animals are likely to be on your land and where they are going to go next, so you're not going to be stuck with them. With a farmer, then obviously this is not normally a problem.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2016, 09:38:21 am »
I know a "genuine" farmer  - sat on the odd parcel of land and wont pay anymore rent than when they took it years ago and wont get off. Agreements every time!

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2016, 09:55:12 am »
But  how would an agreement have helped in this case? If someone's determined to stay then waving an agreement in their face won't suddenly make them get off your land!

 


 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2016, 01:37:56 pm »
But  how would an agreement have helped in this case? If someone's determined to stay then waving an agreement in their face won't suddenly make them get off your land!


Well, you could 'assist' the squatter by opening your gate, driving his animals along the road to his place, opening his gate and letting them in.  If he hasn't got any land then leave them in his garden. Padlock your gate and get your own livestock on the land.
That's extreme, but with an agreement you would at least have the law on your side and the situation would never have progressed so far that he might be able to claim squatters' rights, or that you might contemplate taking that sort of action.


However, any agreement worth its salt will have covered that sort of problem, with stated length of stay, worming policy, fence upkeep, grass care, rent for the period quoted and all the things you possibly wouldn't even have thought of.  The body producing the document will have had years of experience in where such things can go wrong.


I think we can't look at 'farmers' through rose tinted specs - farmers cover the same spectrum as everyone else, from honest, caring, considering the best interests of their animals, the land, the environment, their neighbours, the law, and carrying baby lambs around on their shoulders, to uncaring, dishonest, happy to take advantage of anyone giving them an inch and just being generally unpleasant people.  Everyone is different.  Be prepared.
In fact an agreement is far from being a one sided affair - it's for the renter's safeguarding as well as the landowner, so the renter knows his animals can't be tossed off the land unexpectedly, the rent can't suddenly go up, the land owner can't refuse to maintain the fences and gates - you get the picture.
Having seen humanity in all it's inglorious reality for many decades, I would always play it safe.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2016, 07:58:34 pm »
 Fleecewife - trust me - a grazing licence, like a tenancy agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on!
 It has a place as an agreement of terms between reasonable people, and as you say it clearly defines what is expected by each party. 
 BUT, if either party seeks to ignore it then it is not a criminal offence and your only redress is through the civil courts at the cost of the wronged party.

You can't make your landlord mend the fences just because he's signed to say he will. Nor can you just turn someone else's animals out into the lane because he has failed to pay the rent. You would then be liable for any damage or road accident so caused.

There's nothing wrong with having a grazing agreement so both parties know where they stand, but if you think it will give you any leverage over someone that is set to take advantage of you anyway, then you are likely to be disappointed.

I don't look at farmers through rose coloured spectacles - there's good and bad in all walks of life.
But Jack and Jill are talking about a neighbour about whom I would presume they have some knowledge. And I personally would not bother with a grazing agreement if I trusted the person sufficiently to let him use my land.

But when all's said and done, at the end of rhe day, it's what anyone feels comfortable with. 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2016, 08:02:28 pm »
Quote
After all - even with a formally drawn up and witnessed grazing agreement - if someone doesn't remove their stock at the end of the agreed time then what are you going to do about it? It's not a criminal offence so you would have to take a civil action against them at your cost.

There could well be an argument for criminal damage (e.g. more poaching of the ground) or theft (loss of grass). Be interesting to find out what the police would do if you reported the matter as such a crime.

The other obvious way is that your agreement contains clauses that describe what will happen if the animals aren't gone by the end date. Such as "such livestock remaining on the land after the agreement ends automatically become the property of the landowner who may do with them as they wish, including sale or slaughter".

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2016, 09:34:17 pm »


There could well be an argument for criminal damage (e.g. more poaching of the ground) or theft (loss of grass). Be interesting to find out what the police would do if you reported the matter as such a crime.

The other obvious way is that your agreement contains clauses that describe what will happen if the animals aren't gone by the end date. Such as "such livestock remaining on the land after the agreement ends automatically become the property of the landowner who may do with them as they wish, including sale or slaughter".

Reporting a civil matter to the police doesn't make it a crime however you describe it. The fact that you have allowed someone onto your land alters it completely to where someone has entered your land initially without your permission.

You can add as many clauses as you like, but it doesn't mean you have a legal right to carry out them out.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2016, 06:54:40 pm »
"top field

01/04/2016-01/10/2016
 
"The licensee agrees:

To use the grazing area for the purpose of grazing by approved animals and to have full responsibility for the care of them.
The licensor agrees

To allow the licensee access to the grazing area at all times during the period described in above.

It is agreed"

Nothing in this license shall create a tenancy or a license for the exclusive occupation of the grazing area. The Licensor has the grazing at their disposal for the period of this agreement.


 As witness the hands of the parties here to the day and year first before written

.......signatures of licensor..licensee and witness.
......
[
This is a copy of my grazing licence.....which I use for sheep...some sheep are still in the field mind you....but with my permission.I think the licensor likes an agreement because it gives him some stability knowing he won't have to shift them at a moments notice.
Mind you....I only rent for sheep now....won't consider horses..that's a different kettle of fish .Would be iffy about cattle as well..they can do a bit of damage to fencing.

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 06:56:24 pm »
Reporting a civil matter to the police doesn't make it a crime however you describe it. The fact that you have allowed someone onto your land alters it completely to where someone has entered your land initially without your permission.

So if a shop invites me on to their property I am therefore allowed to steal their stock and it isn't a crime because they allowed me in? Am I allowed to smash the windows on the train I have rented a space to travel on? Criminal offences are criminal offences - just because I am a guest in someone's house doesn't mean that if I kill them it isn't murder.

Quote
You can add as many clauses as you like, but it doesn't mean you have a legal right to carry out them out.

Then what is the point of any contract? As a landlord you can retain a proportion of a tenant's bond to repair damage they have caused - effectively a prespecified clause that you will take your costs out of their assets. This seems to work fine across the residential lettings market, so what is the difference for a grass let? I guess the issue is whether a grazing agreement is property executed as a contract.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 08:21:20 pm »
Reporting a civil matter to the police doesn't make it a crime however you describe it. The fact that you have allowed someone onto your land alters it completely to where someone has entered your land initially without your permission.

So if a shop invites me on to their property I am therefore allowed to steal their stock and it isn't a crime because they allowed me in? Am I allowed to smash the windows on the train I have rented a space to travel on? Criminal offences are criminal offences - just because I am a guest in someone's house doesn't mean that if I kill them it isn't murder.

Quote
You can add as many clauses as you like, but it doesn't mean you have a legal right to carry out them out.

Then what is the point of any contract? As a landlord you can retain a proportion of a tenant's bond to repair damage they have caused - effectively a prespecified clause that you will take your costs out of their assets. This seems to work fine across the residential lettings market, so what is the difference for a grass let? I guess the issue is whether a grazing agreement is property executed as a contract.

You are making up scenarios Black Sheep! I am talking about facts. A grazing licence and a tenancy agreement are not worth the paper they are written on as a way of enforcing a tenancy. Their use is in stating the terms between 2 reasonable people and it establishes the ground rules for both so that they both know where they stand. As such, it works well for REASONABLE people -as demonstrated by the experience of Juiem.

However, as a landlord of 40+ years, I can assure you that by the time you find out that your tenant is NOT a reasonable person, it can be very difficult and time consuming to get rid of them. That is the point at which you find out how useful and legally binding your agreement actually is! And if you honestly believe that all you have to do is complain to the police about the damage to your property, then I'm afraid that you would be sadly disappointed. (Most tenants don't actually resort to stealing your stock, smashing your windows, or murder, as you suggested - in which case the police obviously would take action!)  Even, in the case of a rented house, there may be little safeguard by the taking of a deposit as the unscrupulous tenant merely stops paying the rent before he intends to move, so is quite happy for you to keep his deposit in lieu of rent and this effectively leaves you with no deposit against damage.

But surely this doesn't have to turn into a heated argument?
People post on here in order to get other people's opinions and experience. There's not necessarily a right or wrong and I'm not alone in stating that I don't think a grazing or tenancy agreement is necessarily a watertight solution. This is based on my own experience. Your experience may be different. 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

big soft moose

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: Grazing Agreement
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2016, 10:37:17 pm »
IMO they aren't a golden bullet for every situation, but even if the worst happens you are generally no worse off for having one , and if you do wind up in court at least it demonstrates your attempt to form a contract.  (Incidentally i think in uk law a consideration needs to pass from the tenant/lincensee to the owner to form a contract so even if you aren't charging proper rent its a good idea to charge a nominal sum)

 

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