The CLA has called on the Government to set up a £200m a year Business Adaptation and Productivity Programme to help farmers manage the Brexit transition.
The group has suggested the amount of money available could be boosted to £500m a year with match funding from industry.
The CLA’s demand follows an earlier call on Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub from Julia Aglionby, Foundation for Common Land executive director, for the Government to spend £100m a year supporting farm businesses to restructure.
Speaking at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum event in London on Tuesday (June 18), Susan Twining, chief land use policy adviser at the CLA, claimed the programme would need to be open to all farm businesses to be effective.
“What we would like to see is a Business Adaptation and Productivity Programme running through the transition period,” she said.
“We need to invest enough, early enough and for long enough, because not all businesses are ready to change at the same time.
“We do need to start this now because of productivity lag – the time it takes between investment and impact.
“We need to continue this throughout transition and there needs to be capacity building in the advice sector as well.”
Ms Twining also raised concerns about the wider management of the transition period, pointing out farmers could lose up to 40 per cent of their direct payment before they have access to the Government’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).
She suggested improving productivity, building resilience and developing markets would only go so far in offsetting the loss of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), and called for Countryside Stewardship payments to be bumped up in the meantime to help tide farmers over.
“We believe Countryside Stewardship should be a foundation of the new scheme,” she said.
“Making Countryside Stewardship more attractive by increasing payment rates and improving the administration would be a really good segue into the new ELMS.”