With the agricultural industry undergoing significant changes, agricultural advisors and industry specialists from H&H Land and Property last week presented the lasted updates on a range of farming issues at a specialist seminar held at Tynedale Rugby Club.
John Robson, Managing Director of H&H Land and Property who chaired the event.
Attended by over to over 50 Farmers, government initiatives, agricultural threats and latest news on renewables, woodland, planning and environmental issues were the key points of the presentation and discussions.
Chair of the event, H&H Land and Property’s Managing Director John Robson gives feedback on the key issues:
“During the last twelve months we have seen many challenges particularly with the weather, uncertainty over the forthcoming changes from Europe just adds to farming pressures. This was our first seminar held in Tynedale and through this event our aim was to present the lastest information on new initiatives and legislation to help farmers ensure that they make the most out of farming under present circumstances.”
“The seminar focused on preparing farmers for the up and coming changes in the Single Farm Payment Scheme, particularly with reference to the Greening Element. We know that there are some very good opportunities for farmers to take a whole farm approach using marginal areas of the farm to the full; however it was more than evident that these opportunities can be easily missed as we move toward the new scheme”.
Agricultural Advisor Andrew Jamieson, who has also worked in the North East opened the evening with the finer details of the new Single Farm Payment Scheme figures and Greening issues. Environmental Advisor Mark Barrow covered the changes in the options and points allocations in Environmental Stewardship which are due to come into place January 2013. These changes make it even more crucial that renewal applications are designed more effectively, as he explained;
“Ultimately applications will need to be sharper and more cleverly designed, maximising all areas of the holding to reduce any impact on the farming business. Both the RPA and Natural England now have the ability to cross check your SPS and Stewardship against each other, it is therefore more important than ever to make sure you have compatible land codes and options on both schemes.”
“To ensure both your Single Farm Payment and Stewardship payments are protected it is vital both comply with one another to prevent penalties and payment delays. Landlord and Tenants with Dual Use issues need to act now to protect future payments”.
With the current spread of Ash Die Back, arboriculturalist Richard Hunter gave an update on farmer actions and woodland opportunities;
“This disease has the capability to kill the majority of our Ash trees, so when looking to the future we need to consider planting other species so that our timber crops do not miss a cycle. If you own any Ash trees then check their condition, young trees will need to be destroyed if the become diseased. Remember too that large mature trees falling into a road could be a significant danger. If your tree falls on the road then it is your fault, unless you can prove that you have taken a responsible approach to this threat. This responsible approach would be to ensure that a competent person has inspected your trees and given you a report listing of what you need to do – ignore this advice and it will be at your own peril”.
When looking at woodland opportunities he explained that the value of timber and firewood is high and can be an excellent money making project. Especially when coupled with grants from the Forestry Commission or DEFRA/RDPE, sites that were once ignored can now produce a steady income. If you don’t have any woodland, he suggests planting a couple of acres to take advantage of the high grant rates for woodland creation.
With cuts to the FIT payments Renewables Specialist, Alistair Fell explained which areas are still profitable and which are better avoided;
“People were surprised by the potential return on investment from biomass boilers due to the Renewable Heating Incentive and that we as advisors can help them to choose a good system. I also highlighted the attractiveness of small scale anaerobic digestion for farmers, another topic that raised a lot of interest and questions”.
Finally, Neil Henderson presented on planning and dispelled a number of myths and concerns people have had over systems. His comments were as follows;
“If you are considering erecting a new agricultural building or extending an existing one then it is likely you will need some form of permission from the local planning authority. The simplest way is through what is known as the notification of intention procedure (or NOI). This simply requires submission of limited details to your local council of what you intend to do including the size of the building, a site location plan and the proposed materials.”
“You will also need to pay a small fee - currently £70. The council must respond within 28 days to advise you if they need further details. Be warned that if you do not inform the authority before you start work then you will not be able to use this simplified procedure. There are also limits as to what can be carried out under NOI”.
For more information on H&H Land and Property contact the Durham Office on 0191 370 8530 or the Carlisle Office on 01228 406 260.
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