The largest ever coalition of British farming organisations has today sent an open letter urging the Government not to damage English farming and domestic food production by treating English farmers unfairly in the new CAP.
The coalition, launched by the NFU, CLA and TFA, now has 24 members united in their call for a fair deal for English farmers.
English farmers already receive payments that are lower than their major European competitors and the Coalition is worried that English farmers will be further disadvantaged by the way that Defra may choose to implement the CAP in England.
As the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy continues in Europe, the NFU led coalition of farming and agricultural organisations grows on a daily basis, underlining the strength of feeling across the sectors that English farmers must get a fair deal when the policy comes back to England.
The NFU has written to MPs in rural England laying out the concerns of the coalition. Their call to arms is simple. It asks for MPs to raise concerns with Defra and government ministers based on two threats from our own government which would disadvantage farmers here compared to those in Europe:
More costly and demanding forms of “greening” for English farmers than will be required from farmers in the rest of Europe.
And increased rates of “voluntary modulation” (moving money from direct payments for farmers to rural development schemes).
“CAP reform has never been about the money for us,” said Mr Kendall. “It’s about fairness and making sure English farmers are not disadvantaged by our own Government.
“It seems to me that at a time when consumers are looking to buy more traceable British food, and retailers are looking to farmers here to supply that demand, we also need a government at home that will support our farming industry. David Cameron said at our conference in 2008 that: “We need to create a level playing field with foreign competitors when it comes to regulation. Our government often imposes far more onerous standards on British agriculture than exist elsewhere in the EU. These can have perverse consequences. Instead of driving standards up, they just drive farmers out of business”. What we need is for this Government to deliver on that. What we don’t need is convenient amnesia on what was promised when Mr Cameron was in opposition.
“The letter I have sent today will remind MPs of the importance of getting this reform, and its implementation here at home, absolutely right. I want Defra ministers to really consider the impact that the political and economic dogma we hear so often from them will have on our farming industry. We need a fair deal for English farmers, the future of our food and farming industry depends on it.”
This week the European Parliament voted through its position on the future EU rules on the CAP. The Council of Ministers is expected to reach its position early next week. The final CAP rules are expected to be agreed by the end of June 2013.
The next 18 months will set the stage for the future delivery of the CAP, and with it vital farm payments which underpin the building blocks of the British food industry.
To find out more about the members of the CAP Fair Deal for farmers coalition click here.
Follow the CAP campaign on Twitter using #FairDeal