A REVIEW of Powys County Council's Farm Estate will be discussed by the Cabinet today, Tuesday, November 6.

It is expected that the Cabinet will adopt the 12-point County Farm Estate Delivery Plan  for the future of the 140 farms, small holdings and  cottages that span about 11,250 acres.

Since the year 2000 the Farm Estate has changed significantly with the number of holdings falling by 35 per cent,.

These sales have generated £16 million for the council.

The plan indicates that the council will work with tenant farmers to explore "diversification" opportunities.

It also says that more of the estate will be sold and farmers over 70 will be encouraged to retire.

Council Leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: "One of the key issues considered as part of this review of the plan is whether the previous strategy of 'progressive rationalisation' remains appropriate and in the interests of both the estate and the wider county council.

"That strategy has significantly changed the structure of the estate, but it must be recognised that rationalisation cannot continue indefinitely - the long term sustainability of the estate relies on the physical integrity being maintained.

"While the County Farm Estate is seen by many as non-core council business, I would remind everyone this is an area guided by legislation and is a service which I strongly believe to be important in such a rural area as Powys."

Cllr Harris adds: "It will offer opportunities for many people who wish to enter and progress in, the farming industry but who would otherwise be unable to do so in their own right."

The plan states that the number of farms in the portfolio has reduced, it has not seen the income reduce.

This is because most land of the sold properties has been kept and added to other existing holdings.

Estate general manager, Hugo Van- Rees, said: "Estate rationalisation has been driven by a desire to create larger farm units and a requirement to generate capital, with target receipts of £1 million per annum to fund corporate priorities, in particular the 21st Century Schools programme.

"The estate cannot generate capital receipts indefinitely without compromising its future sustainability and ability to generate revenue which must underpin its long term viability."

According to the report: "Retention of the estate and introducing refreshed focus on maximising the opportunities it offered is consistent with the aims of the Corporate Improvement Plan and Vision 2025."