The CLA has called on Government to spend £30m a year improving farmers’ business, digital and technical skills, as well as providing environmental training, to help them through the Brexit transition period.
The cash would come from the Business Adaptation and Productivity Programme, proposed by the group in June this year, which would be worth £200m a year throughout the transition – currently due to start in 2021 and end in 2027.
With additional funding from farmers, AHDB and the supply chain, the CLA estimates the annual skills budget could be as high as £80m.
The group has also called on the Government to provide Brexit transition funding in two other areas, flagging the need for cash as ‘high priority’.
First, £140m a year – £350m with match funding from industry – to accelerate adoption of best practice and new technology, buildings, infrastructure and equipment which will deliver productivity growth, resilience and environmental benefits.
And second, an ‘advice fund’ of £30m to stimulate demand for professional business advice, managed restructuring, change facilitation and feasibility reviews. It is hoped £80m could be invested in each year of the programme with support from industry.
The suggestions have been set out in a new briefing, Ensuring the agricultural transition delivers for farming, forestry and the environment.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said: “The scale of the changes expected of farmers in the coming years should not be underestimated, and some will be at considerable risk as we switch between payment systems.
“Our tangible, common sense proposals are designed to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
“The £200m a year fund supporting the required investments in productivity, skills and advice will assist the sector in positively responding to the challenges of continuing to feed the nation with a sustainable, quality food supply while delivering public goods.”