Farmers warned to prepare for subsidy cap as issue hits national papers

Farmers with large acreages are being warned that they should prepare themselves for the possibility that the EU may implement a cap on the amount of single farm payment an individual farmer can receive.

Farmers Weekly reported in September that the EU was looking into the possibility of cap as part of the CAP “health check”.

Leaked proposals suggest that the commission is looking to introduce a progressive system of SFP capping where farmers receiving between €100,000 and €200,000 would face a 10% cut, between €200,000 and €300,000 a 25% cut and over €300,000 a 45% cut.

But the issue has been highlighted in The Independent on Friday (9 Nov) under the headline “Off with their subsidies!” which is accompanied by pictures of some of Britain’s wealthiest landowners.

“The proposal, being drawn up by the European Commission, is the first attempt in years to tackle the scandal of giant agri-businesses and millionaire barley barons – as opposed to smallholders and family farmers – being the chief beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy,” the paper claims.

“Disclosures over the past two years have shown that Britain’s elite landowners harvest the lion’s share of farming subsidies – a consistent source of embarrassment for the EU’s farm policy which is supposed to provide a reasonable standard of living for poor farmers struggling to compete in the global market, not redistribute taxpayers’ money into the hands of a few millionaires.”

Mike Harrison of Saffery Champness said the piece in The Independent contained nothing that the industry was not already aware of, but the possibility of a cap was blow to many farmers.

“They’ve been encouraged to make their businesses much bigger, to consolidate and become efficient and now they find that their payments may be capped. It doesn’t seem fair.”

Mr Harrison added: “What farmers need to think about is if this is introduced, which seems more likely than not, have they organised their businesses in such a way that they can accommodate a cap but clearly show they are separate businesses?”

What do you think about the idea of capping, or the report in The Independent? Share your thoughts on the FWispace forums?

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