Farmers share thoughts on replacement for set-aside

Farmers are starting to share their views on DEFRA’s plans to introduce measures to replace the environmental benefit of set-aside.

What do you think? How do you think the voluntary approach should work? Get involved in the discussion. 

Farmers Weekly is keen that producers air their views on the subject in a bid to influence the direction of the consultation process.The issue is being debated on the forums with mixed views being expressed.

Here is a taster of what has been said:

  • “When a substantial proportion of the children in Africa do not have enough to eat it is incomprehensible to be removing land capable of producing nutrient for human beings in order to allow more pest and more weed to flourish.” Dick
  • “Having environmental measures linked to the single farm payment does mean it should be easier to justify receipt of the single farm payment to those that pay it to us. It also hopefully means that a payment (at a worthwhile level) is likely to continue after 2012/13 when the current CAP runs out.” Moore2
  • “The whole thing is another nonsense dreamed up by a cabal of UK farming’s implacable enemies (DEFRA, RSPB and Natural England). Those farmer-hating bullies are set on total control of all decisions made on UK farmland (and an unspoken wish to see it return to some 18th century utopia), hence their predictable horror at the thought of a voluntary scheme.” Hammhill
  • “Personally I would encourage all farmers to take the voluntary approach seriously and for those not in ELS, to get into it. I accept some species have declined and there are some things farmers can do to help reverse this. However, the conservation lobby must realise if they carry on refusing to acknowledge the good news or refuse to give any air-play to the positive indicators and continue to suggest that farming has “intensified” over the last couple of decades when actually the opposite is true, then farmers will become disillusioned with the conservation agenda because they will feel no matter what they do it will never be enough for some of the conservation lobby. This will be bad for conservation and bad for farming.” Guy Smith, Essex
  • “The sooner DEFRA and the RSPB come out of denial that the raptor effect on farmland birds, and rare visitors to Britain, is decreasing numbers of ground and hedge nesting birds the sooner we will have more of same. A simple control scheme is all that is required.” Craman

  • The NFU is urging farmers to get behind the voluntary option, given that it is an approach that avoids regulation.

    “There is a clear choice – between an option that we think will adversely impact on farmers’ existing stewardship options, add to regulatory burdens, and force land out of production and an option that will champion those farmers who are already doing the right thing and encourage others to do their bit to promote a sustainable, productive environment,” said union president Peter Kendall.

    What do you think? How do you think the voluntary approach should work? Get involved in the discussion. 

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