Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, visited Gloucestershire on 26th February to launch a consultation paper that sets out the government’s vision for the future of agriculture as the UK leaves the EU.
In his visit, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs visited farmers who are using herbal lays to improve the health and functionality of their soils as outlined in the pilot Ecosystem Services project that Chris Short led with FWAG South West.
He also visited the Water with Integrated Local Delivery (WILD) Project and met a range of partners.
Chris Short said “It was really interesting to meet the Secretary of State and show him some of the excellent projects in Gloucestershire where farmers are playing a key part in both developing strong resilient businesses, but also providing public benefits in terms of water quality and contributing to vibrant rural communities. The projects he saw and discussed are excellent examples of the type of local delivery that is outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan, so we know it is possible.
The government’s proposals for an ‘agricultural transition’ propose money be redirected from direct payments under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which are based on the amount of land farmed, to a new system of paying farmers “public money for public goods” – principally their work to enhance the environment and invest in sustainable food production.
Other public goods which could be supported include investment in technology and skills to improve productivity, providing public access to farmland and the countryside, enhanced welfare standards for livestock and measures to support the resilience of rural and upland communities.
In line with its manifesto commitment, the government will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament in 2022, providing stability and certainty for farmers as they prepare for the new system.
The consultation will run for ten weeks, until 8th May 2018.