Beyond 2020 - New Farm Policy
What should farm policy look like post-CAP?
The Soil Association are one of 94 organisations who have come together as part of the Sustain: the Alliance for Better Food and Farming. Today, Sustain launches a new briefing which calls on the next Government to pull down the pillars of the EU farm policy and create policies which help UK farmers and the environment to thrive outside the EU.
'Beyond 2020: New farm policy’ outlines a proposed new policy framework to replace the old two pillar EU system with a new four-part deal for farming based on payments for public goods, capital grants, free advice and wider policy measures to ensure farmers can thrive.
The briefing recommends working in partnership with organic farmers to expand and improve organic conversion and maintenance payments. It also calls for support for agroforestry, specific support for horticulture and for new entrants.
Some other key recommendations are that the next Government should:
- Shift payments from large landowners and biofuel production to supporting resilient farming, nature and animals, help alleviate flooding, creating more rural jobs and growing our own healthy 5-a-day fruit and vegetables, supported by a new Land Management Scheme.
- Consider making payments to farmers and land managers front loaded, with Government tapering or capping payments to use taxpayers’ support wisely and ensure diverse farm businesses can thrive.
- Back new enterprise including: new entrants into farming, smaller and diverse farms, agro-forestry and struggling sectors like fruit and vegetable, and overhaul farmer training and advice so they can access the tools they need.
- Adopt vital, complementary measures across government, such as extending the Grocery Code Adjudicator’s powers to ensure fair trading practices from supermarkets and their suppliers, keeping high standards, and requiring an increase in the purchase of local and sustainable food for public-sector organisations such as schools and hospitals.
The first steps called for are pilot schemes, stakeholder discussions and a transparent review period.
At the Soil Association, we have contributed to the briefing and have been working to make the voice of organic farmers heard in any post-CAP policy. In the shorter term, we've also set out our Genereal Election priorities for the next government.