David Cameron has pledged that farmers won’t lose out if the government pushes ahead with plans to reduce direct payments as it implements CAP reform.
The prime minister made the pledge as he visited the North Devon Show at Barton Farm, Umberleigh, on Wednesday (7 August). He toured the event with DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson, talking with industry leaders, farmers and show goers.
Mr Cameron acknowledged concern among farmers about the way the government plans to implement CAP reform in England – in particular DEFRA’s intention to reduce Pillar 1 direct payments by 15% and shift money towards environmental payments under Pillar 2.
Speaking at the event to Farmers Weekly, Mr Cameron said: “If we do shift money from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, that is not disappearing – it is not money that is going out of farming and agriculture – it is just money that will be supporting farming and the rural economy in a different way.”
Mr Cameron said the government was happy to talk to farmers about its intentions. “I understand the concern and we are going to be talking to farmers and farming organisations over the summer about how CAP reform should be implemented.”
He added: “I want to see a living, working countryside, with a successful farming industry. We really want to stand up for British food, British agriculture and British farming – and we won’t do anything that stands in the way of that.”
Read the full story in Farmers Weekly, out Friday 9 August.