CAP Reform: NFU leader Meurig Raymond ‘frustrated’ at lack of detail on greening measures
PUBLISHED: 14:45 14 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:54 14 August 2014
The leader of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) today expressed disappointment at a lack detail on “greening” mesaures which will form part of the European Union’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regime − despite a further update from the UK Government.
Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), announced further details of what the new CAP greening rules will mean for English farmers.
Her update covered the new Basic Payment Scheme, cross-compliance rules and the online system for applications, but also included a call for the European Commission to provide urgent clarity on outstanding issues, and to review the controversial “three crop” rule designed to prevent monoculture farming.
She said:“Food and farming is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and a key component of the Government’s long term economic plan.
“I want farmers and growers to be able to play their part in boosting exports, increasing self-sufficiency and ensuring that as many people as possible, from patients in hospital to hard-pressed families doing the weekly shop, are able to enjoy fresh, local and tasty food.
“I will press the Commission for increased clarity and flexibility on greening, including a review of the three crop rule. I will champion the interests of our farmers so that they can continue to concentrate on what they do best − producing top-quality, world-class food.”
NFU President Meurig Raymond said that while the latest guidance gave much-needed information to farmers and growers about to plant this autumn, he remained disappointed that there were areas still lacking in detail.
“We have held around 40 events, attended by more than 2,000 farmer members to look at this issue and as a result we have fed-in more than 100 questions and concerns on the outstanding detail to Defra,” said Mr Raymond.
“I am pleased to see we now have further information on what is an extremely complex policy area.
“However, I am hugely frustrated that we still don’t have practical clarity over how all hedges, which are part of ecological focus areas, are measured. This means farmers still have a challenge in knowing exactly what the rules are.”
He added: “A lack of timely guidance from the European Commission seems to be significantly hindering Defra’s ability to implement a full set of scheme rules at this time. I would urge the Commission to put this right so that farmers have the clarity and guidance tomake necessary, practical business decisions.
“For its part, the NFU will continue meeting with members in a second series of roadshows this autumn to guide them through this process and we will update our support for farmers based on the guidance received today and in the coming months.”