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Farming for Environmental Benefit – We’ve Been Doing It for Years!

Tue 1 October 2019

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has at last released some guidance for English farmers of how Direct Payments may be phased out.

Direct payments will be phased out over a seven year agricultural transition period between 2021 and 2027. In the first year the biggest reductions will be applied to the higher payment bands, with farmers with a direct payment band of £30,000 or below having a 5% reduction and those over, between 10% - 25% reduction.

DEFRA plans to de-link payments from land to investments to improve productivity, to diversify and to help farmers retire from farming. The hope is that it will provide more opportunities for new entrants and existing farmers wishing to expand. We shall wait with baited breath but releasing land to those who really want to farm is surely a good thing. The crux will be if those youngsters can make it pay. There will be a lump sum available to farmers in place of further direct payments, which will be consulted on later this year.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) will continue to be available for the first few years of transition and then will be followed by the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). This will be based on farmers having public money for environmental benefits such as clean air, water, plants & wildlife, impact on climate change and reductions in hazards & pollution.

The positive impacts must be clearly defined, measurable and have positive impacts on animal health and welfare. There will be investment support in equipment, technology and infrastructure. 

We are living in interesting times and the next seven years will see many changes. Perhaps more traditional breeds on grass fed systems. The main question for me still is food demand and exports. That will command all.

For advice through the transition period McCartneys Rural Professionals will be able to advise you every step of the way.

Jenny Layton Mills - Knighton (01547) 528621

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