Farmers will cautiously welcome consultation on agricultural subsidies

Posted by Caroline Lindon-Morris on
Caroline Lindon-Morris, a specialist in the agricultural property team at Blake Morgan, believes that farmers will give a “cautious welcome” to Michael Gove’s recent comments about the future of agricultural subsidies, post Brexit.

In comments to the Oxford Farming Conference on January 4, the environment secretary indicated that the current subsidy regime could continue after 2022 until about 2024, subject to a "consultation". He said that the current payment system would be replaced by one that encourages land to be used for environmental benefit.

Caroline said: ““Our sense is that farmers will give a cautious welcome to Michael Gove’s comments yesterday, in which he indicated that the current subsidy regime could continue after 2022 until about 2024, subject to a "consultation". He said that the current payment system would be replaced by one that encourages land to be used for environmental benefit.

"Whilst the current support regime is seen as being too bureaucratic and slow in paying out to farmers , those hoping for less regulation may be disappointed by Gove's proposals for a 'different regulatory culture' after we leave the EU. Gove points to the need for regulation to promote growth in trade, and to safeguard our reputation for high quality food and drink by adopting a new approach to food labelling. The regulatory burden may end up being no less that under the current regime.

"Many look to technology to give to farmers and land managers the tools to meet the post-Brexit challenges in the industry by increasing automation in the food-growing and livestock production processes. Farmers should be encouraged by Gove's comments that he wants to allow farmers time to adapt to the introduction of new sensor technology and equipment which comes from these technological breakthroughs. Much will depend on whether the Government is able to deliver on its promises to prioritise super-fast broadband and reliable 5G coverage needed if farmers are to benefit from technological innovations.

"More information about the Government's plans to help farmers adapt to the post-Brexit world will be provided in a Command Paper later this Spring which should contain more specific proposal open to consultation rather than  the general statements of the direction of travel which Gove presented to us yesterday." 

About the Author

Caroline is a Real Estate lawyer in the agricultural property and rural land team with expertise in agri-businesses.

Caroline Lindon-Morris
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