SATISFYING CROSS-COMPLIANCE regulations should require no more than common sense farming and responsible land stewardship, a Welsh seminar was told.

Caroline Drummond, chief executive of Linking Environment and Farming made the comment at an Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research meeting at Clyro, Powys.

Farmers who had an underlying pride in what they were doing, and who protected the environment because they wanted to and not just in response to regulations, had nothing to fear.

Consumers and taxpayers who once only wanted cheap food now demanded that it should be high quality, traceable and produced using environmentally friendly methods.

A new baseline had been set by CAP reform and to collect their single farm payments farmers must find ways of meeting the EU directives, while using commercially realistic production systems.

“You have to fit the environmental requirements to your business, but not let them be the driver,” she told members of the IGER Associates organisation.

Chris Pollock, IGER‘s director of research, admitted that farmers faced the biggest change since the Second World War.

But he was confident that their characteristic adaptability would bring them through.

“You must ask yourselves how you can come to grips with this new order, and how to take advantage of the opportunities it provides,” Prof Pollock claimed.