Since leaving the European Union, and thus exiting the Common Agricultural Policy, the UK has been implementing a shift in its agricultural policy towards a system oriented 100% to public goods assistance and, fundamentally, to the environment.
The year 2024 will be key in this change of course, with the disappearance of direct payments in favor of an exploitation bonus based on amounts received historically.
In the coming years, these subsidies will be phased out, replaced by a series of environmental programs that farmers will be able to choose from based on the specific characteristics of their farms.
In the coming years, this aid will be phased out and replaced by a series of environmental programmes
Change is not easy and must be adjusted gradually. Especially since the nutritional dimension is still important for the United Kingdom, whose supplies have been disrupted by Brexit.
2024 marks a turning point for UK agricultural policy, which is gradually moving away from the Common Agricultural Policy. On January 1 of this year, the direct payments inherited from European policy disappeared. They will now be replaced by a dedicated property premium, determined on a historical basis (average direct payments received between 2020 and 2022).
These separate payments will then be gradually reduced until they disappear completely in 2028, to be replaced by environmental aid. A transitional phase that requires adjustments every year
2024 marks a turning point for UK agricultural policy, which is gradually moving away from the Common Agricultural Policy
At the annual meeting of Oxford Agriculture ConferenceWhich was held at the beginning of this month Stephen BarclayThe UK Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a new update to the UK Agricultural Transformation Plan.
The update is described as “the biggest improvement to Britain's farming systems since leaving the EU”, and includes increases in funding, particularly in the form of a 10% increase in the average value of deals under the programmes. Sustainable agriculture incentives (SFI) and rural management (CS). It also simplifies the application process through one simplified procedure.
On the other hand, the British government wants to enhance environmental incentives by adding new measures for which farmers can be paid, or by giving bonuses to actions with the greatest environmental impact.
The goal is for at least 70% of farmers and land managers to be involved in environmental land management alongside food production, on at least 70% of cultivated land, by 2028.
He points out that “what the British are trying to do is what most academics, NGOs and think tanks have been advocating for a long time.” Jean-Christophe's office, Head of the Department of Economic, Social and Administrative Sciences at AgroParisTech. Many believed that the future Common Agricultural Policy would follow this path, and a year ago I would have said the same thing.” However, since this summer, this idea has completely collapsed. All European institutions have witnessed a setback, especially after the elections in the Netherlands, where the discontent of the agricultural sector The plan to reduce nitrates has a significant impact on voting.
However, for the office “it is easier to accept this type of policy in the United Kingdom, where the agricultural population is much smaller than in France, for example.” He added: “British farmers have never been seen as poor; On the contrary, they are seen as landowners who do not necessarily need subsidies.
Abolition of direct aid within 7 years
After the United Kingdom left the European Union in 2020, the British government announced its intention to do so. In 2021, it introduced its agricultural law, which abolished the basic payment system and replaced it with a new aid model: environmental land management (ELM) programmes, in which farmers participate voluntarily, under the slogan “public money for the public sector”. goods.”
This program aims to “encourage sustainable agricultural practices, create habitats for nature restoration and support the creation of new forests and other ecosystem services to help address challenges such as climate change.”
The annual agricultural budget remains practically unchanged compared to the Common Agricultural Policy budget of 2.4 billion pounds annually. In 2021, British farmers continued to receive the same support as in previous years (direct payments, Pillar 2 support), which fell by an average of 22% in 2022 and 36% in 2023. Meanwhile, environmental programmes.
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