When the UK exits the European Union it will cease to partake in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regime that we are all familiar with, and instead be responsible for designing, implementing and managing its own domestic agricultural policies and schemes.
The programme for this is already underway and is entitled “The Future Farming and Countryside Programme”.
So far DEFRA has assessed the current state of agriculture in the UK and between February and May 2018 it invited the views of industry stakeholders, on its proposals for future policies. All of this has informed the programme to date, which has more recently been the subject of an early review by the National Audit Office.
The early audit is sensible in light of DEFRA’s track record for implementing and managing changes and all the more important now, as their programme represents significant change to agricultural policy, not least because current direct payments account for an average of 61% of a farms net profit and without them, it is believed 42% of farms would make a loss.
The audit is lengthy, but the key findings are as follows;
The report concludes “Farming businesses operate on multi-year planning cycles, and so farmers have an understandable desire for predictability. The farming industry has been affected by DEFRA’s previous difficulties in introducing change successfully and the scale of the change DEFRA is now taking on is much greater”.
All in all it appears DEFRA is as un-prepared as ever, which will be of obvious concern to all industry stakeholders along with the National Audit Office, which has “serious concerns that the Programme will move too quickly and that sensible precautions, information systems and planning will not be in place and farmers will be unable to prepare in the way they need”.
Louise Preece BSc(Hons) MRICS FAAVContact: 01743 450700
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