Government adviser Donald Curry has expressed his concerns for the well-being of farmers, while the Environment Agency has warned that more regulation is on the way. 

Sir Donald Curry, government adviser:

“We need the single farm payment paid on time so that this uncertainty over how much it’s going to be and when it’s going to arrive is removed. All farmers need to be focusing on the solution for their individual businesses, and while they’re worrying about the SFP they’re not addressing that.

“I’m concerned about the well-being of farmers – the stress level is high and the financial pressure on some businesses is intense. That can be very difficult for family relationships. I hope that commodity prices will improve, because that is the biggest single financial influence on farms.

“The final big challenge is to work together much more so that farmers have a real chance of achieving both cost savings and better influence in the market place.”

Helen Wakeham, head of land quality at the Environment Agency:

“We should be building on a really good end to 2005. The enthusiasm and confidence at the Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year awards was really encouraging.

“I hope as many farmers as possible will get into the environment schemes. We have got a unique opportunity with the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme to show that free advice and incentives do work.

“My concern is that there are more regulations coming in – the agricultural waste regulations will come in in the spring and farmers need to be ready for that – but we all need to get them into perspective. I hope that farmers will take the free advice on offer and make sure they get it right first time.”