For British agriculture as a whole the amount received in support for agriculture from the European Union is the difference between profit and loss. Qualification for, and compliance with, such schemes, currently known as Entitlements for Single Payments, is therefore crucial.
The structure for support is currently being reviewed against a background of strong pressure to reduce the overall budget and obtain greater environmental benefits in return for the payments made to farmers. Present indications are that the political negotiations within the EU are likely to be less damaging to UK agriculture than was at first feared. As ever, concrete information emerges at a painfully slow rate and battle remains to be fought.
Much uncertainty will undoubtedly be avoided as a result of the UK decision to 'roll over' the current allocation of English entitlements.
As so often with EU reforms, the changes to the regime will be critical for those on the margins of farming. Other difficulties with the proposed new scheme, to be known as “Basic Payments”, include the percentage of payments dependent on “Greening” requirements.
Every EU country has its own approach to the negotiations and the final form of the amended regulations can only be a matter for conjecture. Updates will be provided as the situation clarifies.
Milk Quota is a classic example of the creation by CAP reform of a capital asset of considerable initial value and cost which has been rendered virtually worthless by the movement of the market. Nevertheless the complex rules regarding quota remain in force and dairy farmers, in particular, need to be aware of them
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