UNLESS FARMERS can persuade the general public that the services they provide warrant state aid there will be no continuation to the single farm payment after 2012, the National Trust has claimed.

Peter Nixon, the Trust‘s director of conservation, made the warning as he spoke at a FARMERS WEEKLY Farmer Forum at Smithfield Show on Thurs (Dec 2).

Mr Nixon warned his audience of the growing need for agriculture to reconnect itself with the general public.

“The environment – and flora and fauna in particular – are of growing importance to the public,” said Mr Nixon.

“Yet from our own experience of receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors each year we are well aware of the disconnection of the general public from agriculture.”

Mr Nixon said farmers should reconnect with the public so to educate people as to the role played by farmers and landowners in producing food and preserving the countryside.