Farming roadshows discuss changes to EU financial support

PROPOSALS to change the way farmers receive financial support from Europe will be discussed at a series of NFU meetings across the country.

The NFU has already described the release of the European Commission’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform proposals as disappointing and a missed opportunity.

Now staff and officeholders, including NFU President Peter Kendall, are hitting the road to give members a chance to explore the detail of what has been put forward.

During the roadshows farmers will be able to give their views on various reform proposals such as the definition of an active farmer, mandatory “greening” actions that are deemed beneficial for the environment and climate change, support for young farmers and a special scheme for small farmers.

Gail Soutar, NFU senior adviser on CAP, said: “The proposals put forward by the Commission are complicated and controversial. We believe that very few of them will help deliver the stated EU objectives of ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for European agriculture’.

“In fact the bureaucratic and restrictive nature of the proposals threatens to make farming less competitive.

“One of the NFU’s main objections with the Commission’s plans is the proposal to take seven per cent of a farm’s area out of production – especially in light of the need to produce more food, from a limited amount of land, to feed a spiralling global population.

“These meetings around the country are vital as the views we gather will form part of our lobbying efforts in Westminster and Brussels where we aim to ensure the voice of the British farmer is heard loud and clear.

“We are also urging our members to contact their local MPs and MEPs to discuss the impact of the CAP reform proposals on their own farm businesses.

“This will further raise awareness of the impact of the Commission’s proposals and help build the case for change in the coming months and years ahead.”

In the North East, sessions will be held on November 15 at the Britannia Hotel, Newcastle Airport, at 2pm and Darlington Rugby Club at 7pm.