Agricultural Bill – Impact on England & Wales

The Agricultural Bill was published on the 12th September 2018 and this document has given us a clear definition on the phrase that Michael Gove has been using recently of “public goods”.

This definition of public goods as stated is for farmers to provide improved water quality, air and soil quality, animal welfare standards and increasing public access to the Countryside and measures to mitigate flooding.”

The White Paper outlines the future for the Basic Payment Scheme and this is to be phased out from 2021 to 2027 and then it will be gone.

Leading industry commentators are expecting BPS to be cut by 5% in 2021 with those receiving larger payments seeing cuts of up to 25% with further phasing thereafter. The money released by these cuts will be used for new Land Management Schemes although these environmental payments are not likely to cover the loss in margins.

It is very likely that farmers will need to plan ahead and whilst a number have already been looking at things such as controlling costs, changing enterprises, embracing innovation and new technology, many more will need to look at these and in addition, look at how they can exploit the assets and perhaps even manage the succession process to the younger generation that maybe keen and more able to adapt to this changing environment.

With any successful business, management of change is key and the team at Rostons believe that Farmers should be starting to plan and change for the future.

There will undoubtably be some funding to help Farmers become more efficient and productive but there are often short timescales for this funding to be claimed. We have seen some of these schemes already.

Within Wales, the Welsh Assembly are consulting on their new “Welsh Land Management Programme” and any comments need to be submitted by October. All Welsh Farmers, Land Owners, Rural Professionals and those involved in the food industry and encouraged to participate in that Consultation.

Hywel Davies of Rostons believes the changes being looked within the draft Consultation will lead to a major change in the landscape and social fabric of North Wales where he practices.