The chairman of the NFU upland farming group has told MPs that there is a need for action to ensure hill and upland farmers are not disadvantaged by Defra’s implementation plans.
Robin Milton addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on hill farming, chaired by Tim Farron MP, in Westminster this week.
Mr Milton emphasised the need for Pillar One support in the hills because of the massively reduced Pillar Two budget. The APPG understood the need for government to recognise the pivotal role that farmers play in producing food and maintaining the structure of the rural economy and that farmers are not a delivery mechanism for environmental programmes.
He said: “It is excellent news that the APPG realises that care must be taken to both have suitable upland options and avoid creating an ‘agent’s charter’ with the limited funds available in Pillar Two particularly given the involvement of LNPs and LEPs with limited farming input.
“The truth is that without farming there would be none of the stunning upland landscapes we all value so much, and critically, no delivery of the public goods associated with them. We believe pillar one offers the best mechanism of support as it is most easily targeted to the farmer, assuming it is distributed fairly.”
The NFU upland farming group recently released a steering document outlining their views on CAP reform, suggesting routes for obtaining a fair deal for all farmers, including those in the hills and uplands.