Defra guidance on CAP still lacks detail, says NFU

Farming body welcomes new information, but says more clarity is required on greening measures

Meurig Raymond President of the NFU
Meurig Raymond President of the NFU

The NFU is set to continue roadshow meetings to support farmers in the North East and elsewhere as they get to grips with the new Common Agriculture Policy, and particularly the greening measures.

After months of lobbying from the union, Defra has released its latest guidance on all three aspects of the measures - permanent grassland, crop diversification and ecological focus areas - and how they work in practice.

NFU President Meurig Raymond, however, said while the guidance provided much-needed information to farmers and growers about to plant this autumn, he remained disappointed that some areas still lacked 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,” he said.

“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.”

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