As you will know, we were able to take up the option to buy Fordhall on June 30th this year when, with your inspiring help, we were able to raise the required £800,000.
We signed contracts and paid a deposit, but actual completion is not until this week. The tenancy for Ben and I does not expire until September 29th and so it made sense to exchange deeds on this date. This means that our tenancy will be a simple exchange from the old landlord to the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (all of you!).
The last few weeks have seen a conveyor of emails between the solicitors, the bank and ourselves as we work to ensure everything is in order. The new tanancy agreement, which needs to be in place before we can draw down the mortgage (£100,000) has taken a lot of discussion as it needs to be secure from both sides: the farmer and the Initiative.
At last we think we have a document that will work both now and in 100 years time. This document takes into account the diverse nature of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative and the objectives of the society to create access to affordable land to new and young farmers.
We must pass on huge thanks to Iain Morrison at MFG Solicitors for all his help and Philip Meade from Davis Meade Land Agents - we could not have done it without you. Oops and not forgetting Ian Price at Triodos for his assistance with the mortgage and patience in receiving our paper work!
The last stages are to transfer the remaining funds and to exchange deeds. It is an exciting and surreal time for us all. To even contemplate that Fordhall would be saved by over 7500 people 4 or even 2 years ago was unbelievable, but here we are and you have done it.
The deeds for Fordhall farm now lie with all of you; both Ben and I could not be more grateful. You have provided us with the opportunity to stay in our home and with the resource to provide a living.
We hope that we can use this structure and this support to further these schemes across the country, providing many more opportunities for new and young entrants to farming.