Elm trees: details of UK green farming subsidies revealed

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Farmers are paid to protect hedgerows to promote biodiversity

Long-awaited details of the post-Brexit farm subsidy scheme have been released by the government.

Landowners in England are rewarded for both their environmental work and food production.

Organic farming programs (elms) will pay farmers public money for measures such as chemical-free control of crop pests and working towards net zero.

The measures were widely welcomed by farming and environmental groups.

According to the government, the money will allow farmers to produce food sustainably while protecting nature and improving the environment.

The Minister for the Environment Thérèse Coffey said that farmers are at the heart of the economy, they produce food but they are also the administrators of the land that comes from it.

“These two roles go hand in hand and we are accelerating the rollout of our farming programs so that everyone can be financially supported as they protect the planet while producing food more sustainably, ” she said.

Elm trees are to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union after the UK is no longer part of the EU. These represent the biggest shock to agricultural policy in England in 40 years.

Farm policy in the UK is a devolved responsibility and each nation runs its own subsidy programme.

In England, the Elms now include three payment systems:

Support for sustainable agriculture will be extended to include payments for the maintenance of hedgerows, grassland and soil.

Countryside Stewardship Plus will reward farmers for “taking coordinated action and working with neighboring farms and landowners to support climate and nature goals.

This includes natural flood management, path renaturation and forest improvement.

NFU Vice President David Exwood said the detail was “incredibly useful” and provided “some of the clarity we asked for.”

Martin Lines, president of the Farming Network for Nature, said it’s not perfect, but it’s “a start.”

“However, individual measures alone will not achieve our climate and nature goals. There is still a need to link measures to avoid a fragmented approach.

The UK is one of the most naturally degraded countries in the world – in the bottom 10% of countries – and the Soil Association’s head of agricultural policy, Gareth Morgan , said he was “making ends meet”.

“We welcome the increasing sense of urgency of the government to help farmers produce food in a resilient way and in harmony with nature. But much more is needed to help them make the transformative changes that will help us achieve our climate and nature goals.”

Mark Tufnell, chairman of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said many arable farmers are encouraged to experiment with the new programs but there is “little new” for struggling moorland or upland farmers.

Payments under the CAP scheme were worth around £3.5 billion a year and most were based on how much land each individual farmer owned, leading to criticism that they benefited the wealthiest.


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