Farming View: A Little Irony About Farm Payments

 Farming View: A Little Irony About Farm Payments 

Farming View: A Little Irony About Farm Payments


Many farmers will find a bit of irony in the Rural Payments Agency (RAP) news that they were able to pay just under 98% of applicants in December.

After years of complaining about RAP poor performance, in a year where Ovid-19 restrictions could give him a cast iron reason to be late, he has done his best to make payments on time since 2015!

So why irony? Well, just as the system is working as it should, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is being phased out and payments are being cut as the government is instead promoting its new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme that rewards farmers for things like governance natural resources. the environment, not the cultivation of crops.

ELM means that completely new terminology is coming to the fore. Farmers are now being encouraged to take into account the "natural capital" of their land; how valuable it is in tangible environmental assets that can be used to receive subsidies as well as to receive payments from other sources. It is expected that a natural capital market will emerge in which landowners can sell environmental benefits to companies that develop other territories and therefore must compensate and damage the footprints.

Water companies, for example, may be willing to subsidize a land plot that helps prevent floods, or takes action to provide a cleaner source of water by managing assets like moorlands or floodplains in different ways.

Moorland in southern England is in short supply, but smart minds are working to figure out how natural capital can be used to make money that growing crops no longer provide. More than half of UK farms rely on BPS to provide a sustainable income and fear that without a scheme to subsidize the cultivation of products that most farmers saw as their jobs, many farms, especially small ones that have been in the same household for generations may well go out of business or be taken over by larger conglomerates that do not have the same ties to the local community.