Saturday, 21 December 2013

Government starts to shed light on CAP reform

Government is beginning to shed some light onto the future of the countryside 
So, Mr Paterson has chosen to move 12% across from pillar one to pillar two, which means that there is less in the pot which goes straight to farmers (pillar one), but more in Pillar two (which funds environmental schemes and rural business development etc) which is good news. Mr Paterson has also stated that 87% of the 12% transferred into rural development will be spent on Agri-environment – so around £926 million, which is also good news.

This is new funding made available for fresh commitments, not including the £2.155 billion that has already been committed, so that in total there will be about £3.1 billion over the 2014-2020 period for spending on Stewardship type schemes. This is a compromise between what the NFU were asking for – 9% and what the environmentalists wanted – 15%.

Wales has decided to go for the full 15%, while Scotland will have a 9.5 % and Ireland 7%. But wait for it, in Germany they have gone for 4.5% and in France 3%, while in Italy it has been set at 0%!! Call me naive, but I could have sworn that one of the main reasons for joining the European Union was to have a “level playing field” when it came to trading. Just my luck to be reincarnated as a farmland bird in Italy!!

As yet there is no news on many other aspects of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. In particular we await the changes made to Cross Compliance, in other words what farmers are obliged to do on their farms to enable them to receive the single farm payment – ie: money from pillar one.  
Once we know this segment of the whole, we can get down to sorting out exactly what the new Stewardship scheme will look like, rather than drafting and somewhat guessing the outcome. 
These are indeed interesting times for the countryside!

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