LORD WHITTY has urged farmers to seize the opportunities presented by the current and future reforms of the CAP if they wish to succeed in the new era of UK Agriculture. 

Speaking at the Oxford Farming conference on January 5 he told those attending that DEFRA was working hard to administer the single farm payment as smoothly as possible. 

“I understand and indeed share the frustration of farmers at the time some of this is taking and that the detail we are obliged to go into in what is supposed to be a liberalisation and simplification of the scheme,” he said. 

But he added that the “prize is great if we understand the fundamental nature of change and opportunities it presents”.

Lord Whitty also described the effects other legislation will have on UK farmers, such as the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the act previously restricted information about subsidy payments will now be available on request, pending the finalisation of some remaining details.

Future changes to the CAP will centre on reforming the tobacco and sugar sectors. 

But negotiations on the reform of the sugar sector are to be delayed until June when the EU will hear the result to an appeal against WPO Panel findings on the existing regime.

Warning was also given that the current funding regime in the EU, due to expire in 2012, will have to change beforehand if more countries such as Romania enter the EU before that date.