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Farmers' anger at shift in focus for EU subsidy

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

By Graeme Demianyk, WMN London Editor, Twitter: @graemedemianyk

Dairy
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Farming leaders are furious the Cabinet has been told a greater share of EU agriculture subsidies will be spent on environmentally friendly land management.

The Government has indicated it wants to transfer 15% of direct payments given to all farmers – based on acreage – to environmental and rural development measures such as building dry stone walls and creating habitats for wildlife.

Now the decision appears to have been firmed up amid claims Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ministers have made the recommendation to Cabinet colleagues, so that the Government's decision can be communicated to the European Commission by the end of the month. The current transfer rate is 9%.

National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said: "Farmers remain at a complete loss to understand what the Government intends to use this money on, or how it can be used effectively for the benefit of their businesses."

Some £20 billion of subsidy will be dished out to British farmers over seven years to help uneconomic but vital farming.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee of MPs last week warned the switch will "penalise" British farmers.

Mr Kendall added: "The threat of disproportionate reductions in farmers' payments vis-a-vis their immediate competitors (France and Italy will see payments rise from 2014) is making them angry and frustrated with this Government."

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3 comments

  • eponym1  |  December 11 2013, 7:56PM

    "National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said: "Farmers remain at a complete loss to understand what the Government intends to use this money on, or how it can be used effectively for the benefit of their businesses."" As Peter Kendall is aware the movement of more funds from direct subsidy, where the farmer has to do very little other than very basic sound management of the land to get substantial payments, to a more indirect form where the farmer is encouraged to manage his/her land in a way that is demonstrably more beneficial to the environment, is aimed at benefiting the countryside and rural community as a whole, rather than just the farmers business. Surely this focusing of more funding on Environmental Stewardship and similar schemes has to be a good thing. Whilst I have been the first to condemn Owen Patterson for his encouragement of the woefully inept badger cull trials in Gloucestershire and Somerset, on this occasion I applaud him for sticking to his sensible approach England's approach to CAP implementation.

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  • toffer99  |  December 11 2013, 2:26PM

    I suppose most farmers still think that the Tory party is on their side, and broadly supportive of farmers' interests. Nope, that was the nice old One-Nation Conservative Party, whose last flicker of life expired under the leadership of John Major, having been severely broken by Margaret Thatcher. The current Tories are best described (as their own Home Secretary did not long ago) as The Nasty Party. They are paid by rich investors, bankers, industrialist and hedge funds and work for them alone as can be seen by those who read serious newspapers. After the next election, they will "work" in the directorships provided by these friends, will clean up monetarily at the expense of ordinary citizens (including farmers) and retire early.

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  • groundnut  |  December 11 2013, 11:12AM

    "National Farmers' Union president Peter Kendall said: "Farmers remain at a complete loss to understand what the Government intends to use this money on, or how it can be used effectively for the benefit of their businesses." As has been said by many, throughout this Badger killing exercise by the NFU. When the chickens come home to roost on any aspect of farmers grievances. Many members of the Public will now be less willing to rush out in support. Times and opinions have certainly been forcibly focused By Peter Kendall, the NFU and Countryside Alliance. In their dismissal of science, and their desire to see healthy Wildlife slaughtered. As a way forward to the eradication of Bovine TB in cattle and wildlife. It is only regrettable that many other Farmers have also been, perhaps unwillingly dragged into these politics. More Chickens will inevitably come home to roost in the future, and to have alienated any section of the Public, in such a manner. Is not in my view either a sound base or progress for the Future.

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