Farming is changing – here’s what you need to know

Aug 27, 2019

Last Updated on

Farming is changing – here’s what you need to know

WHAT’S CHANGING?

Direct Payments
Phasing out Direct Payments in England from 2021 to 2027. The biggest reductions in the first year will be applied to the higher payment bands:

DIRECT PAYMENT BAND* MAXIMUM REDUCTION
Up to £30,000    5%
£30,000 – £50,000    10%
£50,000 – £150,000    20%
£150,000 or more    25%

* For example, for a claim worth £40,000, a reduction of up to 5% to the first £30,000 and up to a 10% reduction to the next £10,000.
Reduction percentages for later years will be set by taking into account detailed plans for future schemes and wider decisions about government spending.

Delinking
A ‘delink’ of Direct Payments from the requirement to farm the land, and payments regardless of whether the recipient chooses to continue farming or not. Consultation on the detail of these changes and guidance with farmers in good time before delinking starts. The earliest for delinking payments is 2021.
The delinked payments could be used in any way – for example, to invest in improving productivity, to diversify the business or to retire from farming. This should help to provide more opportunities for new entrants, and existing farmers wishing to expand, or to buy or rent land.

Lump sum
DEFRA are looking into the option of offering farmers a one-off lump sum in place of any further Direct Payments they would have been entitled to receive. Consultation with farmers later in the year to look into how this could work best, the earliest offer of the lump sum would be 2021.

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Regulation
By 2021, DEFRA plan to communicate what compliance looks like and how they will monitor regulations in the short term. In the longer term, DEFRA plans to adopt a partnership-based approach in designing a future regulatory system.
A more targeted approach to regulation and enforcement. Balancing maintaining robust regulatory requirements with proportionate monitoring, inspection and enforcement activity.
To create a new culture of regulation, one which encourages better communication and data-sharing between DEFRA agencies, and a smoother, less burdensome experience for those who are regulated, regardless of when and how we leave the EU.

Rural Development Programme
The current government has committed to fund all Rural Development Programme projects commencing before the end of 2020.
These projects will run for the lifetime of their agreement.

Countryside Stewardship
Under current plans, new Countryside Stewardship agreements will continue to be available in the first few years of the agricultural transition period.
DEFRA will ensure there is a smooth transition from Countryside Stewardship to the new Environmental Land Management (ELM)
scheme. Under the transition plans, there will be a period of time in which both the old and new systems operate. This will allow time to plan and prepare for the future.
No one in a Countryside Stewardship agreement will be unfairly disadvantaged when we transition to new arrangements under ELM. Until then, signing a Countryside Stewardship agreement gives a viable, long-term source of income for providing environmental benefits.

Tree and plant health
In recognition of the valuable environmental benefits provided by our trees, woodlands and forests, DEFRA are reviewing the existing package of tree health grants designed to protect our treescape from the ever increasing threat of pests and diseases. Looking at ways to support local action groups to help land managers get local information and take a co-ordinated approach to reducing risks and responding to outbreaks. Additionally, looking at ways to provide improved information such as best practice biosecurity training materials, rapid alerts, and clear information on current pest and disease threats.

Animal health
We know that farmers dedicate a huge amount of energy to caring for their animals. Working in close partnership with farmers and vets to develop a new approach to preventing endemic disease and improving the health of livestock.

Environmental Land Management
To pay farmers and land managers for providing environmental benefits. In 2024, DEFRA plan to launch their new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme as one way in which to do this. This new approach isn’t a subsidy. Those who are awarded ELM agreements will be paid public money in return for providing environmental benefits. These will include;

ADVICE AND INFORMATION

For a more detailed explanation of future English agricultural policy, go to GOV.UK and search for ‘future farming policy statement’.
For important policy news and updates go to gov.uk/defra.

For further information on how to prepare for Brexit and the steps you may need to take, go to gov.uk/euexitfarming.

Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs publication August 2019

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