At this week’s CLA Rural Business Conference, the RT Hon Michael Gove MP, The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, set out the department’s “once in a lifetime” refocus, improvement and simplification of farm support systems:
Countryside Stewardship – Four new offers to be launched
Mr Gove highlighted Environmental Stewardship as a fundamental aspect of the rural economy “without a healthy environment we have nothing”, DEFRA will in its future agriculture support funding “prioritise the health of the soil”. The speech recognised that the pre-eminent public good is environmental enhancement, government investment will respond to this. “The lion’s share of current support for land owners is, clearly, inefficiently allocated. It does not secure the public goods the public wants and needs.”
The CAP has, as stated by Mr Gove, initiated many of problems we see in our countryside today, including species decline and soil degradation. ”The current system of support for farmers and landowners shaped by the CAP is inefficient, ineffective, inequitable and environmentally harmful”.
The new “offers” have been designed to complement the existing countryside stewardship schemes, offering a simplified application process. There are four streamlined “offers” to choose from, providing tailored options to suit every farm type.
The scheme is non-competitive, meaning all farmers who meet the edibility requirement can get an agreement. Some details have been released, with the full manual expected in the New Year. Contact your local Brown & Co office for more information and to see which scheme would suit your farm best.
Farm Support – No Capping for providing Public Goods and Services
In answer to questions a transition period was mentioned to 2020-2021 no capping of farming for the supply of public goods and services, however payments based on holding size are likely to change.
Grants worth £45M Launched BUT 31/05/2018 Application Deadline
To boost productivity and further enhance the environment a further £45 million worth of funding for business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure was announced under the Growth Programme. Applications will open from the 30th November. Expressions of Interest (EoI) must be submitted by 31st May 2018.
Support for Innovation & New Technology
"Technology of the future", is key to maintaining the high standards and competitiveness in the food and drink sector, Mr Gove said “we are on cusp of a new agricultural revolution” the government recognises the need to support the innovation to reshape agriculture.
New Food & Drink Council to Support Primary Producers
Recognising the food chain bring in £110 Billion to the UK economy, it is the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector. Mr Gove affirmed the government’s commitment to put the sector at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy by forming a food and drink council responsible for marketing and supporting primary producers.
Vociferous in his condemnation of CAP the minister clearly states a change in direction, at the heart of this is the environment. He is keen to champion food with high standards, invest in technology and enhance our “beautiful and special” landscapes.
If you would like to discuss any of these points further please contact your local office.
For the full transcript see: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/environment-secretary-speech-cla-rural-business-conference