I was able to attend a very informative breakfast meeting with George Eustice MP, Minister for Food Farming & Fisheries at the Bath & West show this year. Mr Eustice outlined his visions claiming “He’s the first agricultural minister with the power to make a change in 50 years” with significant emphasis on improving farm productivity & increased level of environmental improvement.
Mr Eustice claimed as BPS is phased out, a new system of providing funds to directly improve farm productivity will be phased in, possibly starting with the largest farms, as early as 2019 and finishing with the smallest several years after that, with the idea of “ironing out any issues” by then. Mr Eustice also stated farmers will be rewarded & incentivised to contribute more towards protecting & enhancing the environment, and instead of payments that just about cover the revenue lost from farming the same ground, as it might currently seem, they will instead be rewarded heavier. It did seem as though there was an air of confidence in the room after that speech, he went on to inform the room that the agriculture bill is progressing through parliament and the first trade deal with the EU poised to be announced in the Autumn.
Whilst Mr Eustice’s ideas certainly have their benefits for UK farmers it is not an invitation to relax, farming businesses must prepare for an income with zero BPS payments, so it is more crucial than ever to have a stable, profitable and sustainable core farming business.
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