The CLA has said public goods payments under the proposed new Environmental Land Management Scheme must deliver a ‘genuine profit’ for farmers.
The group made the demand ahead of the Agriculture Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons tomorrow (October 10), when MPs will have their first opportunity to debate the main principles of the legislation.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer also called on the Government to keep spending at current levels and commit to a long-term agriculture budget.
Defra Ministers have made clear they intend to value public goods according to natural capital principles, with the Natural Capital Committee currently exploring how much the provision of each public good is worth, but there are concerns these payment rates may not be attractive to farmers.
Mr Breitmeyer said: “The direction set for the Agriculture Bill by Government in September gives a glimpse of the future and it is encouraging the industry has been listened to, but it is still relatively superficial.
“Now landowners, farmers and rural businesses need to know the detail that lies beneath the rhetoric.
“For farms and other businesses to develop meaningful plans for the future, we need to have much more clarity on how the new policies will work in practice.
“Top of the list is clarity on funding post-2022. We share the Government’s ambition for enhancing the environment alongside quality food production, but this can only be delivered by a secure and profitable farming industry.
“Introducing a commitment for a sufficient long-term budget into the Bill, and confirming sufficient payment rates which recognise the industry’s high welfare and environmental standards, would provide farmers and landowners with confidence that engaging in the new payment for public goods scheme is a sensible business plan.”