The YDNPA is urging local farmers and landowners to try to find time out from lambing to respond to the government’s major consultation on the Future of Agriculture.
The consultation paper proposes big changes after Brexit, not least the phasing out of Direct Payments (BPS), the source of almost all profits for upland farm businesses.
It says Direct Payments will be replaced by more payments for “public goods” – which are strongly supported by National Parks England.
The pioneering ‘payment by results’ pilot scheme in Wensleydale is featured as a case study.
“The consultation paper outlines a post-Brexit farming policy for England and there is much to be commended in it. It is very encouraging that it uses the Wensleydale pilot as a case study to illustrate what future farm payment schemes could look like,” said YDNPA chairman Carl Lis.
“The paper clearly says that Direct Payments are not going to be switched off overnight – which will come as a relief to many.
“It models scenarios for the payments to be phased out over 5, 7 or ten years, so it could be towards the end of the next decade before they disappear entirely. It is in farmers’ interests to join in the consultation and give their view on how Direct Payments should end and over how many years.
“The paper is also clear in recognising that the uplands may find it more difficult than others to adapt. But it highlights the potential for upland farm businesses to benefit from new environmental land management schemes, given the nature of the landscapes and the many public goods that they deliver, such as biodiversity and flood risk mitigation.
“One of the vital questions the paper asks is how farming, land management and rural communities in the uplands should continue to be supported. It’s important that we seize this opportunity to make the voices of local farmers and communities heard.
“The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will be responding to the consultation via National Parks England. Our views have been shaped through the Yorkshire Dales Farming and Land Management Forum and other local partnerships. A consensus has emerged that future payment schemes need to be locally tailored, locally delivered and outcome-focused.”
Agriculture Consultation Team
1b – Future Farming Directorate
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Nobel House
17 Smith Square