ao link
Farmers Guardian
News
Over The Farm Gate

Over The Farm Gate

This Is Agriculture - Sponsored

This Is Agriculture - Sponsored

DataHub

DataHub

Auction Finder

Auction Finder

LAMMA 2021

LAMMA 2021

Anger over Government refusal to pay farmers to improve soil health post-Brexit

Industry leaders have reacted with anger to a Government decision which could stop farmers being paid to improve soil health after Brexit.

TwitterFacebook
Share This

Anger over Government refusal to pay farmers to improve soil health post-Brexit

An application for an Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) trial focused on crop rotations has been rejected by Defra on the grounds healthy soil is a ‘natural asset’ from which public goods can flow, but not a public good in its own right.

 

This means any project which aimed to improve soil health alone would not attract investment under ELMS.

 

Defra’s refusal to accept the trial has come as a shock to its creator, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

 

In 2017, Secretary of State Michael Gove pledged to do more to tackle the problem of degraded soils and the ‘Health and Harmony’ consultation preceding the Agriculture Bill specifically name-checked improved soil health as a public good which could be rewarded after Brexit.


Read More

Absence of soil targets in Environment Bill leaves ‘gaping hole’ in legislationAbsence of soil targets in Environment Bill leaves ‘gaping hole’ in legislation
Strengthened powers to tackle supply chain unfairness in new Agriculture BillStrengthened powers to tackle supply chain unfairness in new Agriculture Bill
Housebuilding and urbanisation key threat to soil health, says Environment AgencyHousebuilding and urbanisation key threat to soil health, says Environment Agency
Defra’s post-Brexit ag scheme heading for payment system nightmareDefra’s post-Brexit ag scheme heading for payment system nightmare
Government report says farmers should be paid to improve soil healthGovernment report says farmers should be paid to improve soil health

Speaking at an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting in Westminster this week (April 2), the GWCT’s head of policy Dr Alastair Leake said: “I am sorry, but I do not feel this is the direction we need to be going in.

 

“We should surely provide some incentive for soil health. Not so long ago we paid farmers to put 15 per cent of their land into set aside. It is not a big leap to get farmers to put 15 per cent of their land into soil-restoring crops.

 

“We need a blended funding model because the farmer and society will both benefit from good soil management.”

 

Peter Melchett, the late Soil Association policy director, was also involved in putting the trial together.

 

Concerned

 

His successor, Jo Lewis, told Farmers Guardian she was concerned healthy soil was not being considered a public good by Defra.

 

“This view appears at odds with Michael Gove’s statement at the Oxford Farming Conference that improving the level of organic matter in soil is a public good farmers should be rewarded for,” she added.

 

“We urgently need Defra to translate political statements into meaningful support for farmers.”

 

A Defra spokesman said: “The Government has demonstrated its commitment to healthy soils through setting a target in the 25-Year Environment Plan to manage all soil sustainably by 2030.”

TwitterFacebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Most Recent

Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS