Farming - The future, post Brexit

Contact: Neil Cox

The recent address by the Secretary-of-State for Defra Michael Gove at the Oxford Farming Conference has provided some reassurance for farmers as to how farming subsidies will be dealt with after Brexit.

Mr Gove guaranteed farmers the same level of current EU subsidies until the 2022 election. There would then be a “transitional period” in England until 2024. Further detailing how the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be replaced Mr Gove said the CAP was “unjust” and “doesn’t really reward efficiency”.

During the period to 2024 the Government will aim to reduce the largest area payments, with a maximum cap or a sliding scale of reductions. The aim is to create a smooth path towards developing a new method of providing financial support to farmers which moves away from subsidies for inefficiency to public money for public goods.

The proposals for the future agricultural policy will see farmers incentivised for innovation and giving them the tools they need to progress, maintaining the UK’s reputation for quality food and high welfare, and building on natural capital to sustain the countryside for the future.

The focus on the environment and countryside had been largely anticipated and would see farmers rewarded for planting woodland, boosting wildlife, improving water quality and recreating wildflower meadows.

Whilst the reassurance from the announcement of the transition period is welcome the question of future trade deals and availability of seasonal labour remains unanswered and is still a key concern.