Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farmers Concern at 'Greening' Proposals

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farmers Concern at 'Greening' Proposals

Article excerpt

Byline: CAP REFORM Aranda Rahbarkouhi? 0191 201 6136 ? aranda.rahbarkouhi@ncjmedia.co.uk

APOLITICAL deal on CAP reform has been agreed with one of its key drivers being 'greening' - new environmental requirements attached to direct payments.

The agreement was reached on Wednesday, after three days of intensive talks in Brussels and Luxembourg.

The agreement has laid the framework for a new CAP from 2015 with the principles of 'greening' direct payments and redistributing payments more evenly at its core.

But it gives member states unprecedented flexibility in how they implement key elements of the reforms, including what farmers will have to do to qualify for their 30 per cent greening top-up and how much money is transferred between the two pillars of the CAP.

But while the goal of the political agreement has been achieved, gaps in the policy remain to be filled in.

Ministers and MEPs could not reach a conclusion on the transfer of money between the two pillars of the CAP and whether capping of the largest payments will be voluntary or compulsory.

Even without agreement on those issues, the fine details of the whole package still need to be decided, with the final package expected in autumn.

The key elements of the reform package include: 30% of the new direct payment being subject to greening measures.

Flexibility has been granted for member states regions to green direct payments in a way that reflects national circumstances.

In England, the plan is that farmers will join a single English Certification Scheme where they will be able to choose from a list of options to meet their greening requirements.

Member states will still be free to use the European Commission's original greening measures - ecological focus areas, crop rotation and retention of permanent - as the basis for greening.

Today, a CAP expert at George F White, which specialises in helping farmers and landowners develop businesses and maximise investment in property and land, said these measures were 'causing concern among farmers'.

Guy Sampson, rural practice surveyor at George F White, which employs 100 staff, said the devil would really be in the detail. …

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