After months of lobbying from the NFU, Defra has today released its latest guidance to farmers on new greening measures and how they work in practice. The guidance includes all three elements of greening; permanent grassland, crop diversification and the ecological focus areas.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said while the guidance gave much-needed information to farmers and growers who were about to plant this autumn, he remained disappointed that there were areas still lacking in detail.
“We have held around 40 events, attended by more than 2,000 farmer members to look at this issue – and as a result we have fed-in more than 100 questions and concerns on the outstanding detail to Defra,” said Mr Raymond.
“I am pleased to see we now have further information on what is an extremely complex policy area.
“However, I am hugely frustrated that we still don’t have practical clarity over how all hedges, which are part of ecological focus areas, are measured. This means farmers still have a challenge in knowing exactly what the rules are if they wish to use this EFA feature which they have on farm.
“A lack of timely guidance from the European Commission seems to be significantly hindering Defra’s ability to implement a full set of scheme rules at this time. I would urge the Commission to put this right so that farmers have the clarity and guidance to make necessary, practical business decisions.
“For its part, the NFU will continue meeting with members in a second series of roadshows this autumn to guide them through this process and we will update our support for farmers based on the guidance received today and in the coming months.”