Sophie Dwerryhouse looks back on a busy month for key announcements

We don’t need to choose between the environment and feeding the nation
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Midlands Regional Director Sophie Dwerryhouse

We are only one month into 2023 and already it is proving to be a busy start to the year for announcements relating to the Agricultural Transition.

It has been a difficult time with lots of uncertainty for the farming community. The CLA has continued to press DEFRA to provide further clarity on various schemes so that farming businesses can plan for the future.

CLA President Mark Tufnell said at the CLA’s Rural Business Conference: “Producing food has to be profitable and we should be rewarded for providing public goods. We don’t need to choose between the environment and feeding the nation.”

Farmers and landowners have a strong interest in the environment, and they need to play their part in helping to tackle climate change, they also need to be able to run viable, profitable businesses. It doesn't have to be a choice between one or the other.

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ATP Roadshows taking place in March

It is promising that we have already had two key announcements in January. Farming Minister Mark Spencer led the way at the Oxford Farming Conference with an announcement of increased payment rates for most capital items under Countryside Stewardship (CS).

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs then set out detailed plans including payment rates and standards for Environmental Land Management (ELM) Schemes in 2023.

We have heard that more money is being made available to those in the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and Woodland Creation Schemes with increases across the board. These are positive and welcome steps forward for the farming community.

No application windows have opened as a result of the prospectus, but it does provide a menu which is helpful for determining what options are available to businesses to help them plan for the future. I would encourage farmers to take another look at the schemes and options and consider whether they work for your business.

The CLA are running a series of national Agricultural Transition Planning roadshows. The Midlands based roadshows will be taking place in March and can be booked here.