In response, the NFU’s South East region has said it will organise meetings to discuss the government’s proposals. These will see money redirected from the basic payment scheme subsidies under the common agricultural policy (CAP) to paying farmers for public goods such as water protection and access to the countryside.

Other public goods which could be supported include investment in technology and skills to improve productivity, enhanced welfare standards for livestock and measures to support rural and upland communities.

In line with its manifesto commitment, the government will continue to pay the same amount through the basic payment scheme until the end of this parliament in 2022, from when the payment will be phased out.

The government has set out proposals for an “agricultural transition” once there is freedom to move away from the CAP. This transition will go beyond the Brexit transition period for the whole country, which should last for two years from March 2019, the date for leaving the European Union.
Reductions in the basic payment scheme for the largest landowners first could free up around £150 million in the first year of the agricultural transition period, which could be used to boost farmers providing public goods.

In the consultation, the government wants views on:

  • options for how to gradually phase out the basic farm payment, starting with the largest landowners while developing a new environmental land management scheme;
  • public goods which could qualify for government funding, such as high animal welfare standards, wildlife protection, public access, and new technologies;
  • measures to move away from enforcement which penalises farmers for minor errors, including a more efficient inspection regime for environmental and animal welfare standards;
  • New business models and incentives to invest in innovation and new technologies to increase profitability.

The basic payment scheme for 2019 will follow the existing model, and in the meantime, the government will simplify applications for green schemes such as countryside stewardship.
The consultation will run for ten weeks, closing on 8 May 2018. The NFU’s South East region has organised the following meetings to discuss the future of farming consultation paper. All venues have been booked for 50 people with tea/coffee on arrival. Numbers will be confirmed nearer the date.

OXFORD Monday 9 April, 10am-1pm
Studley Wood Golf Club, Horton-Cum-Studley, The Straight Mile, Oxford, OX33 1BF;

BERKSHIRE Monday 9 April, 5-10pm
Loddon Suite, Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium, Reading RG2 0FL;

HAMPSHIRE Tuesday 10 April, 10am-1pm
Holiday Inn, Morn Hill, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HZ;

SURREY Tuesday 10 April, 5pm-9pm
Rydal Suite, Silvermere Golf and Leisure, Redhill Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1EF;

WEST SUSSEX Wednesday 11 April, 10am-2pm
Kleinwort Farmers Room, Norfolk Pavilion, South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TL;

KENT Thursday 12 April, 10am-1pm
Bredhurst Room, Alan Day House, Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3JF;

ISLE OF WIGHT Thursday 12 April, 6.30pm
The Chequers Inn, Niton Road, Rookley, Isle of Wight, PO38 3NZ

ESSEX Thursday, 19 April
Writtle College, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 3RR