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Conservation payments for farmers

 
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sean
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 8:26 pm    Post subject: Conservation payments for farmers  Reply with quote    

From the Independent.
Farmers to be paid for protecting countryside


By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor


04 March 2005


Once they were strictly food producers. But from today England's farmers are officially something more: guardians of the countryside.


Their new role was signalled yesterday by the Government in the biggest shift in the way in which agriculture is funded for more than 30 years. In future all farmers will be eligible for annual payments for environmental protection and enhance- ment work on their land.


They will be able to add thousands of pounds to their income, from a range of work that includes looking after hedgerows to providing habitat for birds and small mammals, creating wildflower plots for bees and other beneficial insects, or protecting ponds from pesticides and fertilisers, to encouraging wildlife such as frogs and newts.


Although there have been two sets of environmentally friendly farming schemes in the past, only about 12 per cent of English farmers have taken part, because the schemes were highly restricted, either to specific geographical areas or to a limited budget.


The point about the new scheme, called Environmental Stewardship and launched yesterday by the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, is that it is open to every farmer, and every farmer will be encouraged to take part.


It marks the climax of an enormous shift in the way in which agriculture has long been funded under the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the past, farmers' subsidies were directly linked to production - the more wheat and beef they produced, the more they earned. But this system led both to wasteful over-production and immense damage to the natural environment. Britain has lost about 40 per cent of its farmland birds because of intensive farming in the past three decades, thousands of miles of hedges and much wildlife-rich landscape.


Two years ago, EU member states reformed the CAP and agreed to break the link between production and subsidy; now farmers are paid a single payment based merely on the area they farm, not on how much livestock they have or how much cereal they harvest.


To get this they have to observe a certain number of minimum environmental standards. But now they can top up their income substantially with further Environmental Stewardship payments.


The scheme was welcomed by the National Farmers' Union, which strongly urged its members to take part. "Environmental stewardship is at the core of our businesses," said the union's deputy president, Peter Kendall. "We hope the system will help maintain and deliver the kind of British countryside the public demands."


The scheme is a key component of the Government's strategy for sustainable farming and food. It was recommended two years ago by the commission set up under Sir Don Curry to look at the future of farming after the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of 2001.


Sir Don said yesterday that it represented "a fundamental step in farmers committing themselves to sound environmental management".


Mrs Beckett said the launch marked "a real red-letter day for English farming".


BRINGING BACK WILDLIFE


Adbury farm near Burghclere in Berkshire is in beautiful countryside, within sight of Watership Down, where Richard Adams' rabbit heroes played out their epic - in fact, in the novel the rabbits crossed the farm to get to the Down - and it is appropriately rich in wildlife, with no fewer than four species of deer.


The farm manager, Peter Clarke, is already in a wildlife-friendly farming scheme under which he leaves stubbles unploughed to encourage ground-nesting birds, has unploughed margins around his cereal fields and plants seed-bearing crops for insects and birds. Lapwings are breeding on the farm and there is a healthy population of skylarks.


Under the new scheme he could plant more pollen- and nectar-rich plants to encourage butterflies and bees, and sow other areas with plants bearing seeds for wild birds. His ambition is to attract grey partridges back to breed on the farm, which may take five years. He is also considering environmentally-friendly management of woodland edges and ditches - which means not trimming them or clearing them out so frequently.


The annual payments for which the 1,100-acre estate will be eligible under the scheme could amount to nearly 9,000.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44104
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If I get my land I'll be campaigning for more grants and subsidies

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was just saying to Bugs we need to find out some more details about this. There is not a vast amount of money available, but it's something to think about if we were to buy a small holding or woodland. There does appear to be many hoops to jump through, perhaps easier for large estates to do than smallholders, but it's something that's worth looking into.

I've just read something that says an eventual figure of 200 per hectare can be claimed (the scheme is being phased in over a number of years.)

Anyone know of a good place to track down easy to understand info?

sean
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No, but DEFRA usually seems to be the starting point. Or Alison might know if you want the information in english.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Treacodactyl wrote:
Anyone know of a good place to track down easy to understand info?


I still haven't worked my way through the booklet yet , but like I said to Tahir, as far as I understand it, the first step you must take is registering your land with the RPA, then in the future you will be sent all the information through the post. Although they say the scheme is now launched, they haven't sent out the final application info yet

alison
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Still waiting for my digital map.

They sent me a photo copy to confirm something and got the OS co-ordinates wrong.

There isn't a lot of information yet, with exact amounts of money, but there is a lot of paperwork arriving nearly every day.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 05 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

alison wrote:
Still waiting for my digital map.


I saw it coming & registered a year ago

alison wrote:

There isn't a lot of information yet, with exact amounts of money, but there is a lot of paperwork arriving nearly every day.


And I get two sets of everything

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I also read something along the lines if you don't register withing a time frame then the land may not be able to be registered. Any details on this?

As I woill be looking for a property in the years to come I'll be relying on the current owners to do the work

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Treacodactyl wrote:
I also read something along the lines if you don't register withing a time frame then the land may not be able to be registered. Any details on this?

As I woill be looking for a property in the years to come I'll be relying on the current owners to do the work


After this first intake of registrations, the level of entitlements will be set, in a similar way to the old IACS system, and registering later will be much more difficult to establish the entitlement than it will at first.

If you are buying unregistered land in the future, this will be made clear in any sale details & will be taken into account in the value of the land.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks Rob.

Guest






PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i appliedfor a movement order to move some carp i had bought ,to put into a lake i used to have with my brother, sent in the ordenence,ref, and adress to defra,they sent us a letter saying we could not move the fish to this part of the country as we were on a flood plane,the lake is on top of a hill in a small vally,had to get the the guy from defra to show him were the fish were going in the end,so dont hold your breath when it comes to regerstration of your land they are hopless,nearly as bad as my spelling

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Like with many things in life, it's always best to do some research before contacting various government departments and also not to simply accept that they are right if you think otherwise.

One of the reasons for finding out what others have experienced.

alison
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
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Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 05 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Rob, I have been on IACs, but wanted to add my wood into the equation. So far they have sent me 4 letters about this, as they can't see it, even though I have copied the OS map and drawn around it in red pen.

They sent another one this morning, so here's hoping.

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