By Sue Lister, Senior Associate in the Commercial Property team.
It is important to have the correct grazing agreements between landowners and livestock farmers, and to be aware of each party’s liabilities for management of the land and animal welfare.
Some agreements permit a farmer to graze livestock on land in exchange for land management such as maintaining fences or ditches, or permit a livestock keeper to graze another farmer’s livestock on land.
However landowners claiming single farm payment entitlements must show that they are in control of the land, or have access to it from time to time. So they may provide livestock accommodation or opt to occasionally check on the animals which could make them partly or wholly liable for a breach of animal welfare, depending on the extent of their involvement. To avoid such liabilities, landowners should ensure that they cannot be treated as a ‘keeper’ of livestock.