Defra consultation on the future shape of conversion aid

The response stressed the need for conversion aid to be continued at least at the current level and that unimproved grassland should continue to be eligible although some differentiation between enclosed and unenclosed land could be explored. We do not support restricting aid from some farm types in order to favour production currently in short supply because this goes against the policy for a more flexible agriculture and also requires Government to predict future markets. However we do agree to the idea of providing future conversion payments through the organic strand of the new Entry Level Agri-environment Scheme with the conversion aid paid as a top-up. The CLA feels that with uptake of the Organic Farming Scheme currently running below 50% of the target and the uncertainty over markets an attractive conversion package is essential to give farmers more confidence to commit to this demanding and valuable farming system.

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