GOVERNMENT’S AGRICULTURE BILL

We are still waiting for more details, but the following is a short summary of the Government’s announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-agriculture-bill-to-deliver-a-green-brexit

Phasing out of Direct Payments (Basic Payment Scheme)

• Direct payments in 2019 and 2020 will be made on a similar basis as now – subject to simplification where possible. They will then be phased out between 2021 and 2027. Most farmers will see some reduction to their payments during this transition period, although those who receive the highest payments will see bigger reductions initially.

• During the transition period, direct payments will be “delinked” from the requirement to farm the land. These payments, which may be calculated according to money received in previous years, can be used by farmers to invest in their business, diversify their activities or else retire from farming to help new entrants into the industry.

New Environmental Land Management Scheme
Direct payments will be replaced with a new system of “public money for public goods” called the new Environment Land Management Scheme (ELM). “Public goods” will include better air and water quality, soil health and higher animal welfare standards, access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding. During 2019 and 2020, the new scheme will be tested and trialled with pilots starting in 2021 with the aim of the new scheme being fully operational from 2025/26. It appears that the existing Stewardship Schemes will remain in place during this period but we are waiting for more details.

Other Support
• Over the transition period, there will be grants for farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to help them deliver public goods and adopt the new environmental land contracts.
• There will also be funding for farmers who collaborate on research and development projects into topics such as soil health or sustainable livestock farming.

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