“There will be more trees, meadows and wetlands – and fewer sheep and cows as controversial EU farm subsidies are phased out. Ministers say it represents the most fundamental shift in farming policy for 50 years.”
The government has unveiled its promised reforms on farming subsidies:
And it promises a ‘better, fairer farming system’:
It’s been covered from every angle:
With excerpts from a BBC analysis:
England’s countryside will radically change after the Brexit transition period, the government has confirmed. There will be more trees, meadows and wetlands – and fewer sheep and cows as controversial EU farm subsidies are phased out. Ministers say it represents the most fundamental shift in farming policy for 50 years.
Farmers will get grants for
- Protecting ‘heritage’ farm buildings and stone walls
- Expanding hedges
- Capturing carbon in soils and cutting pesticides
- Natural flood management including restoring river bends
- Landscape recovery, restoring peatland and planting new woods
- Reducing antibiotics
- Improving animal health and welfare
More details of the new policies will appear over time, but environmentalists say the National Farmers’ Union has already persuaded the government to water down its original intentions. Farmers complained that the original hurdles to qualify for ELM grants were too high. So, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has created what it calls the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This will reward farmers for basic activities such as crop rotation, soil conservation and stopping chemicals polluting waterways. Environmentalists say actions like this are normal good practice, and shouldn’t always be funded by the taxpayer.