Two-year rule changes
DURINGthe recent Brussels talks the two-year rule which affects farmers who have taken on a new holding appears to have been scrapped, says Christopher Monk, business consultant with Strutt and Parker.
Under it, growers who took on new land were only allowed to set aside the equivalent of the maximum obligatory rate on that land for that period, he explains.
"Without the rule, it will be possible to rent an additional block of poor or inaccessible land and set aside enough of that land to account for all the farmers 10% set-aside requirement. With a set-aside payment of £124/acre in 1999, it could be attractive."
The effect in the year 2000 and beyond depends on how the regulations are worded and the level of market rents, he adds. *