Clarity over removal of greening rules means farmers can plan 2021 harvest with confidence

Tom Bradshaw_56090

Farmers will no longer be required to comply with complex rules around crop diversification, Ecological Focus Areas and greening permanent grassland from 2021, after government announced the removal of greening rules from the direct payments regime for 2021.

The change means 30% of the current overall BPS payment associated with these conditions will be reallocated to the BPS entitlements from 2021, although the greening rules for the 2020 BPS scheme year remain in place and unchanged from previous announcements.

In March this year, NFU President Minette Batters welcomed a derogation for farmers in England from the greening three-crop rule after months of relentless heavy rain, waterlogging and flooding of fields leaving them unable to plant and establish crops for 2020. Now, the three-crop rule will be removed from BPS rules permanently in 2021. 

NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “The NFU has been seeking clarification of the greening rules for the 2021 scheme for many months, particularly around the position on the crop diversification rules, so that our members can plan their cropping for harvest 2021. Of course, any cover or catch crops declared on the 2020 BPS submission must still be grown.

“Although the NFU has never been critical of the environmental intent of the crop diversification requirements, we have always been concerned that this EU-legacy scheme has never been applied with the flexibility needed to suit varying weather and farming situations in Britain.

“I am hopeful that the changes to greening rules will remove some of the complexities farmers face in interacting with multiple scheme rules.

“At the same time, I am confident that farmers will use experiences of greening to develop their existing approaches to land management and build on their invaluable role working to protect and enhance the environment as we prepare for the introduction of a new domestic agricultural policy and Environmental Land Management Schemes. “

It is important to note that the greening rules for the 2020 BPS scheme year remain in place and unchanged from previous announcements.This is particularly critical for those that have opted for EFA catch and cover crops on their 2020 applications and are still required to comply with those declarations on the ground.

© 2020 - NFUonline