The government has taken steps to cut subsidies to farmers and replace them with payments to protect the environment.
Post-Brexit agricultural policy changes, which will take place over a period of seven years to 2028, are considered the most significant agricultural change in England in more than 50 years.
The government’s roadmap sets out how “direct payments” paid under the basic payment system for the amount of land under cultivation will be reduced from 2021 onwards on the way to phasing out by 2028.
The government has pledged to keep the £ 2.4 billion a year for agriculture in this Parliament but plans to cut the £ 1.8 billion in direct payments in half by 2024, with the largest cuts being made on the highest payment areas .
The £ 900m saved will be used to launch an Environmental Environmental Management (ELM) program that rewards farmers for sustainable farming practices, creating new habitats and even rebuilding land. There will also be funding for an agricultural investment fund that will provide grants for equipment and technology such as robots and new infrastructure such as water storage on farms, which will open from next year.
Environment Secretary George Eustice will tell farmers and environmental organizations: ‘We want farmers to have access to public money to help their businesses become more productive and sustainable, while taking action to improve the environment and animal welfare and on what they farm Country Achieve Climate Change Results.
“Instead of the mandatory top-down rules of the EU era, we want to support the decisions that farmers and land managers make. If we work together to get this right, in a decade the rest of the world will want to follow our lead. “
Officials want the new system to be more flexible than EU Common Agricultural Policy initiatives where farmers complain about inspectors measuring field edges with tape measures and punishing them when they are inches away.
There will also be steps to simplify the subsidy systems while they continue, and efforts will be made to cut red tape and develop a more targeted regulatory system, the government said.
A national pilot project for the new environmental program is to be started at the end of 2021 and will involve up to 5,500 farmers over a period of three years. The introduction of the entire program is planned for the end of 2024.
Mark Bridgeman, president of the Country Land and Business Association, said the ELM program has the potential to “be a truly world-leading policy,” but the transition is fraught with risk.
“Many farmers will find it difficult to overcome the drastic cuts in the basic payment system that will begin next year. The average family farm will be cut by over 50 percent before the new systems are fully available in 2024. “
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “It is a high risk to expect farmers to run viable, costly farms, continue to produce food and improve their environmental footprint while maintaining existing support for nearly three years expires without a full replacement program and a huge question.
“There is also a lot of uncertainty during this political transition, not least new trade deals after leaving the transition period, as well as the national recovery from Covid-19 and the global challenge of climate change. In addition, agriculture and growth are often caught in the crossfire in the longstanding price war in UK retailing. “