CLA President Harry Cotterell has welcomed the agreement between the European Agriculture Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) but has urged Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to rethink his position on modulation after a deal was struck in Brussels.
Each member state can set its own level of voluntary modulation, which means shifting payments from Pillar One (direct to farmers and land managers) to Pillar Two (rural development schemes). The Association is concerned that the UK will apply the maximum permitted 15 percent modulation on top of the EU-wide 10 percent modulation, putting UK farmers at a significant disadvantage to other countries.
Mr Cotterell said: "We are pleased that these three institutions have finally brokered a deal on CAP reform. It is clear we have won some valuable concessions for our members and UK farmers when you compare what has been agreed with the initial proposals.
"However, we are still concerned that Mr Paterson will put English farmers at a competitive disadvantage to our Continental neighbours by insisting on moving 15 percent of Pillar One funds into Pillar Two when other European governments will not be doing this."
The CLA President added: "We need to remember, of course, that we will not see the final legal text of the CAP reform deal until late this year, so there may still be some surprises to come. We will continue to lobby in the interests of farmers and land managers until the deal is set in stone."