CAP REFORM will boost farm incomes by 5%, the DEFRA director general Andrew Lebrecht has told a Family Farmers Assocation conference.

Speaking on UK farming‘s future, Mr Lebrecht told the conference at Reading University on Monday (Oct 11) there would be winners and losers under reforms.

But, based on an expected reduction in costs as well as an expected increase in prices, and compared with 2003 levels, incomes would rise.

Mr Lebrecht predicted the movement towards bigger farms would continue, but he still believed there could be a future for small family farms.

“There will be more contract farming, and there will be more diversification. Small-scale farmers will get more of their income from non-farming sources,” Mr Lebrecht said.

He added that he believed the government‘s long-term strategy for UK farming would  help the small-scale farmers as well as the big farms in the times ahead.

After the talk, Mr Lebrecht was asked what the government will do in regard of the need for keeping the derogation on small, local abattoirs.

He replied that the government was sensitive to the need for maintaining such abattoirs, stating that regional authorities are being encouraged to help ensure this happens.

But Family Farmers Association chairman Pippa Woods, question Mr Lebrecht‘s vision.

Ms Woods suggested the new, decoupled world would bring a more volatile market in terms of prices something big farmers would find relatively easier to withstand.