2014-09-03  

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CAP Confusion Continues to Cause Concern

The Tenant Farmers Association is receiving a high volume of calls from members who are attempting to get to grips with the emerging rules surrounding the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said;
“There have been years of discussion on this round of CAP reform and now we are down to the final stages. With the new schemes due to start officially in four months’ time, it is frustrating that there are many points of detail yet to be decided which are crucial to farm planning decisions and either should have been made already or need to be made now. Along with other industry organisations the TFA continues to be in constant discussion with DEFRA, the RPA and Natural England to hammer out these final issues”.

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“The two updates sent to farmers by DEFRA over the summer have been welcomed by TFA members but inevitably they have produced a raft of new questions particularly in relation to the operation of the Greening measures and specifically those relating to the measurement of Ecological Focus Areas. We appreciate that DEFRA’s hands are tied as it awaits answers to questions which it has raised with the European Commission on points of definition and clarification but this is no help to hard pressed farmers who are having to make decisions without access to the full facts. In view of this, it will be vital that a lenient approach is taken within the inspection framework for next year where farmers have tried to do their best to match farm practice with what was known at the time about the evolving rules,” said Mr Wyrill.

“Everybody’s situation is unique and it is therefore vital that individual advice is sought to match the specific circumstances of each case. There are no guarantees that what seems to work on your neighbour’s farm will work on yours. Clauses within tenancy agreements may also have an impact on decisions so these too will need to be checked out. Well-meaning advice from friends and neighbours about what they are doing may lead you down the wrong path. As usual the TFA will keep members up to speed with the latest information as we receive it” said Mr Wyrill.

“Dealing with the current rules is clearly the biggest priority at the moment. However, we are supporting our new Secretary of State, Liz Truss, in her efforts to convince the European Commission to change the Greening rules so that they are both more practical to implement and provide a greater opportunity for producing wider environmental benefits,” said Mr Wyrill.

TFA

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