Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

At times of uncertainty, make sure you are not totally reliant on EU subsidies

17/01/19At times of uncertainty, make sure you are not totally reliant on EU subsidies

What are the potential implications of the Basic Payments scheme being phased out?

Tom Mason, Surveyor BSc (Hons) MRICS, writes:

At times of significant uncertainty for British farming, there is a risk that we all start to pay too much attention to politics and may miss tremendous opportunities, just a stone’s throw from our front door.

The Common Agricultural Policy controls tariff-free trading arrangements, movement of labour and legislation as well as distributing farming subsidies. These subsidies can account for more than half a farm’s turnover. It’s important that you know what percentage of your turnover the subsidies account for and the implications for your business of this subsidy being removed.

In preparation for the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the Government published new legislation in September called the Agricultural Bill. This confirmed that once Brexit takes place, the current Basic Payments system, which is calculated on farmable area, will be removed. We have been offered reassurances that it will be phased out over a seven year period, ending in 2027. It will be replaced by a system that will pay farmers “public money for public goods”.

“Public goods” are likely to be those things that the market cannot reward but if managed correctly they will benefit more than just the recipient of the payment. The tone of current discussions seems to be moving funding to schemes that will enhance the natural environment rather than those based on farmable area or volume of production. Potential examples could be schemes designed to enhance habitat restoration, water quality, soil protection and access to the countryside.

I work for many talented farmers, who deliver award winning results, but when you are totally immersed in your day-to-day business, there is often little time to step back look for other opportunities. Political decisions are largely out of our control but now is the time to look at ways of protecting your business as far as you can from external influences.

To discuss the implications of the Government’s new farming policy and how best you can prepare for the future, call us on 01691 610317 or email us on

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