BBC presenter Nick Robinson has suggested farmers should be means-tested to bring them into line with others who receive Government cash, such as benefit claimants.
He put forward the idea during an interview with CLA president Ross Murray on the Today programme this morning.
Putting a cap on the amount of money farmers and landowners could receive was another proposal touted by Mr Robinson, who said a lowering of subsidy would allow the Government to spend extra cash on things people regard as ‘more worthwhile’.
The interview came as Defra Secretary Michael Gove delivered a speech announcing farmers would only get payouts in future if they agree to protect the environment and ‘enhance rural life’.
CLA president Mr Murray said the organisation’s proposals for a ‘Land Management Contract’ which supports farmers who choose to provide public benefits would ‘end the divisive view about public money’.
“The money is being given to farmers of all shapes and sizes, and a lot of it is going to small farmers in the uplands who certainly need it for their farm businesses”, he added.
“Whatever the ownership structure of the farm, I think it is important for us to remember public money is required to do expensive work for the environment which the marketplace does not reward the owner of the farm for.
“Our idea we have presented to Michael Gove is you should have a contract for services, so the farmer or the land manager comes forward and says on a voluntary basis, ‘I am prepared to do x, y or z measure’, whether it is planting trees or looking after flood lands.
“These are the sorts of public goods he is not rewarded for in the market and he should be paid a fair recompense for that.
“This is much more acceptable to the general public than the acreage payment. We have inherited it from Europe and we are moving on.”