UK Agriculture will be taking nervous steps in the coming months. A mixed bag of changes are at foot… The changes do seem to be poking the large arable farms in the ribs. Environmental changes proposed are focused at forcing the large Arable farms into managing the localised ecology. Permanent pasture is to be maintained and three crops are to be in the farms rotation. These alterations will see significant changes on our nations landscape. Land barons will be capped to a payment of 300,000 euros each year. But for me most interestingly a package that helps new farmers below 40 years of age enter the industry! A very credible decision… Elements such as this are a classic example for the need of CAP.
Despite the CAP’s ups and downs over the years, it’s purpose of food production has always helped to produce quality affordable food. As for the UK, the policy has always had diverse effects on farming practices. We need to remember that for such a small country we have a hugely diverse landscape, so there will always be a difference of opinion due to different income requirements and business models! On this note, I can see that the new proposals will certainly have a positive effect on meat production. Livestock farms are already well adapted to greener farming methods, to add to this arable farms will now be required to manage permanent pasture. I would assume that livestock will play a key role here… As a result, there will be an increase of affordable quality British meat on the market. Improving sustainability and reducing imports! Surely a good thing?
Unfortunately there are farming enterprises that simply rely on the subsidy to put dinner on the table. The question is, in the detail of the new reforms, is there protection for farms currently receiving Less Favoured Area payments etc ? It is in instances like this that the CAP really needs to live up to its original purpose.